Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone remains unfazed by criticism of his side’s display in last week’s narrow UEFA Champions League defeat to Real Madrid.
Following a goalless draw in the first leg, Atletico were beaten by a late Javier Hernandez strike at the Santiago Bernabeu and Simeone’s approach to the game was called into question.
Despite suggestions of an overly defensive display, Simeone brushed off the negative comments, saying it was par for the course following Atletico’s recent success.
“We were three minutes away from not losing. We lost 1-0,” he said. “There are many things to focus on. We conceded with one player less, Tiago was unable to play when they scored. I understand the criticisms. Football is great but we all feel we are right and everything is up for debate, we are all coaches.
“But it’s the ones who are on the pitch who have to make decisions. This is all a reaction from one negative result.
“Criticism doesn’t bother me, in fact I see it as something totally normal. After three successful years it’s understood that you want to be the best.
“When you get pressure to improve it’s because it’s felt that there is room to improve.”
Simeone, who agreed a new contract last month, takes charge of his 200th game at Villarreal on Wednesday.
Discussing his side’s evolution from La Liga also-rans to reigning champions, Simeone added: “We’ve taken things bit by bit.
“We took our time in being able to beat [Real] Madrid, after 14 years of being incapable of doing so.
We’ve started to forge a competitive team. I always dream of improving never settling for less than we have.
“The main difference [to last season] is that we have 10 new players that have had to adapt but they have helped us be competitive.”