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‘Defensive’ Real Madrid remind me of my old teams

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Diego Simeone praised Real Madrid‘s counter-attacking style in their 2-1 win over Atletico Madrid in Sunday’s derby, saying it reminded him of his own teams who have been criticised for being too defensive.

Rodrygo and Federico Valverde scored in the first half to put Madrid in control at the Metropolitano stadium.

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Mario Hermoso responded with a late consolation goal, before being sent off in added time, as Madrid made it six wins out of six in LaLiga.

Atletico’s defeat left them eight points behind leaders Madrid, in seventh place in the table.

“Madrid have a really good, direct style,” Simeone said in his postmatch news conference.

“Their transitions from defence to attack are fast and they’re extraordinarily clinical. I like it. They’re organised in defence, they counter-attack, they take their chances. It’s a great job by the coach [Carlo Ancelotti].”

“I like seeing a team that defends deep and attacks like that,” Simeone added.

“It reminds me of the team we had with Diego Costa, playing on the counter-attack. People criticised us for being defensive. But when you’re clinical, it’s marvellous football.”

Critics have often characterised Simeone’s Atletico as playing overly conservative or negative football during his successful decade in charge at the club.

His opposite number Ancelotti had no objections to Simeone’s comments when they were put to him on Sunday.

“Yes, we defended deep. We’re used to doing that,” Ancelotti said.

“We stopped the danger of Antoine Griezmann and Joao Felix. If Simeone says we defended well in a low block, I thank him. I think it’s a compliment.”

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