Diego Simeone applauded the performance of Antoine Griezmann in Atletico Madrid’s 2-1 Champions League win at Monaco, highlighting his link-up play with Diego Costa.
Atletico were in control for much of Tuesday’s contest in Monte Carlo, with Griezmann playing a particularly prominent role, appearing between the lines and routinely slicing Monaco open.
The visitors fell behind in the 18th minute after a couple of errors from Saul Niguez and Angel Correa resulted in Samuel Grandsir finding the net, but Atletico regained their focus and were good value for the win in the end.
Their equaliser came through Costa, who was brilliantly released by Griezmann, and Jose Gimenez got the winner just before half-time.
But Griezmann – who has been criticised for his public targeting of the Ballon d’Or despite a disappointing start to the season – attracted the plaudits.
“Griezmann is growing match after match,” head coach Simeone told reporters. “We came from a big effort against Eibar.
“Today we started at a disadvantage and he [Griezmann] appeared at important moments and in places where he harms.
— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) September 18, 2018
“He’s decisive. The combinations with Costa were destabilising. [They had a] great game.”
Sergio Ramos was among those who criticised Griezmann for his Ballon d’Or comments, with the Real Madrid captain telling him he should have more humility.
But Rodrigo refused to hit back at Ramos, instead lauding Griezmann’s performance.
“Nothing affected him,” Rodrigo told the media. “He has given a spectacular goal pass. Players have to speak on the field and everyone has his opinion.
“We are not going to criticise Ramos because of what he thinks. Antoine is very important for us, a world-class player – his words weren’t excessive.
“We believe he is among the top three in the world and he is showing it. He is the most destabilising player on the team and he has helped us a lot.”
Monaco head coach Leonardo Jardim was also keen to pinpoint the difference made by Griezmann, though he also accepted Atletico’s superior experience had an impact.
“Our opponent has been more rigorous and more efficient than us,” Jardim said. “So, it’s the experience that makes the difference.
“We were ahead 1-0, but then we were missing a little maturity. Griezmann’s talent made the difference.
“I did not find many differences between the two teams in the game. The match remained very balanced, but we learn from our mistakes.”
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