Simeone: Final talk on hold
Thu, 28 Feb 2013 11:56:00
Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has put thoughts of the Copa del Rey final showdown with Real Madrid on hold for now.
The Rojiblancos secured their place in the cup showpiece for the second time in four years after progressing through 4-3 on aggregate following two incident-packed semi-final legs against Sevilla.
After establishing a 2-1 lead following a first leg that included three penalties and three red cards, Atletico finished the job at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on Wednesday night in an encounter that finished 2-2 and saw Sevilla once again have two players sent off.
That success set up a mouthwatering final clash with arch-rivals Real - a side Atletico have not beaten in over 13 years - in May, but Simeone was reluctant to talk too much about that match at this point.
The Argentinian, whose side face fellow high-flyers Malaga in La Liga on Sunday, said: "Regarding the final, the only thing that we're thinking about is the happiness of being back in a very important final.
"Talking about Madrid now would be a lack of respect to Sevilla.
"We need to talk about how we've played, Falcao, Diego Costa, Miranda, Cata Diaz....
"Tomorrow (Thursday) we will think about Malaga, who are a direct and difficult rival."
While Simeone was unwilling to look ahead to the final derby, he knows it will be a different story for the Atletico fans.
As the supporters celebrate, though, Simone hopes they will spare a though for some of the club's unsung heroes this season.
Simeone said: "The Atletico Madrid fans will be happy.
"They will get up in the morning and will have a very important final to look forward to. It will be a difficult game but they will be full of joy to see their team fighting for second place in such a competitive league and once again finding themselves in the final.
"This says very good things about the players, about the efforts they are making, and also the people who are not seen, such as the physios, the medical staff, the assistants...
"It is a victory for everyone because without the work of the people who you don't see, it's impossible that these guys are in this form."