but everything that is happening to him is deserved because he has never stopped working and believing in his own ability.”
As if he, or any Atlético player, would ever be allowed to relax while Simeone is in charge. Ditto for the Leicester players. For all that Leicester Manager Claudio Ranieri comes across as an avuncular man, there is the same relentlessness from him as there is with Simeone, and the same reminders that no player is above the team. The hard work required by this team-first ethic is not universally popular, but Leicester and Atlético have to be admired. They have thrown down the gauntlet to much wealthier clubs.
Though obduracy is basic to Atlético’s game plans, they are nowhere close to the famedcatenacciodefendingofInterMilan in the 1960s. Catenaccio (bolting the door) was thoroughly defensive. The way that Atlético throttled the supposedly greater attacking talents of Bayern this week was done on the front foot as they pressed Munich back deep in their own half.
Later, with the goal in the bag, Atlético did revert to blanket defending in front of their own penalty area, the same way that they had drawn the sting out of Barcelona in the quarterfinals. On paper, Bayern still have the talents (and the home record) to overturn this loss in Munich on Tuesday. But that has been said of the big guns in England against Leicester all season long. And there is another similarity between the two clubs — the fact that both the English league leaders and Atlético line up in a 4-4-2 formation that was viewed as outmoded in the modern era. Somehow, they make it work.