Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone lauded his team’s character after a hard-fought 2-0 win at Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday.
The Liga giants were made to wait until late on to secure their win as Angel Correa and Antoine Griezmann struck in the final three minutes to see them return to winning ways following a 1-0 loss to Malaga prior to the short mid-season break.
Simeone said the goals in the dying stages were a credit to Atletico’s will and desire in their final game of the year.
“In the first half, both teams played in two different ways, each respecting their own structure of the game,” he said.
“In the first half, we created four very clear goal situations. The goalkeeper played a very good first half.
“In the second half, I think that the value of the win was in always maintaining the will and initiative to win the game.
“This speaks very well of the group and the team.”
Substitute Correa fired in an 88th-minute opener after a fine team move before Griezmann’s wonderful chipped finish soon after.
Thomas Partey’s pass put Correa in behind for Atletico’s first goal, but the Ghanaian midfielder could leave the club in January.
“That’s a question more for management,” Simeone said. “We are always thinking about what’s best for the team.”