Tuesday, 17 May, 2022

Simeone calls for more respect before City encounter

Fernandinho stuns Guardiola by announcing exit

Diego Simeone has called for critics of Atletico Madrid's style of play to show more respect ahead of the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City on Wednesday.

Atletico were widely lambasted for their ultra-defensive performance at the Etihad Stadium last week, when Simeone's team failed to muster a single shot as City claimed a deserved 1-0 victory.

"Since I started coaching in 2005, if I'm not mistaken I have never criticised a colleague of mine. Never," Simeone said in a press conference on Tuesday.

"I believe there are different ways of playing to get what you want from each match but when somebody criticises a colleague, I don't get involved. "As my father used to say, 'the mouth kills the fish'. There are several ways to play, I choose one, but you have to respect your colleagues. Always, always, always."

City's dominance in the first leg failed to translate into a convincing lead, with only Kevin de Bruyne's late strike preventing Atletico from returning to Madrid with a clean sheet.

Atletico will be hoping to upset the odds in front of their own fans at the Wanda Metropolitano and reach their first Champions League semi since 2017.

Meanwhile, City captain Fernandinho shocked manager Pep Guardiola by saying Tuesday he planned to leave the English champions at the end of the season.

The 36-year-old former Brazil international, who has won four Premier League titles since joining City from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013, revealed his intentions at a pre-match press conference ahead of Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final second leg away to Atletico.

Fernandinho, asked if he would like to extend his stay at the Etihad for another year, replied: "I don't think so."

Guardiola, who was alongside the midfielder, was taken aback by his skipper's announcement.

"Oh! I didn't know. You give me the news," he said.

Meanwhile, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has insisted a looming FA Cup semi-final against City will have no impact on his team selection for Wednesday's Champions League tie at home to Benfica.

Liverpool have a healthy 3-1 lead following the first leg in Portugal, which has led to speculation Klopp could rest key players with an eye to the FA Cup tie.

But the German boss, speaking at a pre-match press conference on Tuesday, insisted: "The next game has no influence on the line-up for tomorrow but the last game has."