'We used to say': Trippier shares what Simeone would say to Atleti's players before facing Chelsea in the CL
Ex-Atletico Madrid player Kieran Trippier has shared detail on how his former club approached their matches with Chelsea last season in the Champions League.
England international Trippier, 31, spent two-and-a-half seasons as an Atletico player before a transfer to Newcastle Untied back in January.
There’s currently a lot of talk around the ugly side of Atletico’s game, which came out during their Champions League quarter-final match with Manchester City last night. Man City did manage to leave a hostile Wanda Metropolitano Stadium with a goalless draw and a 1-0 aggregate win to take them through to the semis.
Atletico boss Diego Simeone is the master tactician when it comes to defensive football, as well as setting up aggressive teams that push the boundary at times with referees.
Interestingly, Jason Cundy has claimed he would be a “perfect” replacement at Stamford Bridge if Thomas Tuchel leaves as Chelsea manager.
Ex-Atletico defender Trippier has given an insight into the kind of messages Simeone instructed to his players when facing English teams like Chelsea and Liverpool in the past. It’s no surprise to hear the passionate Argentine manager asks his side to fight for everything and be physical, something they did in bucket loads against Man City.
Chelsea had to come through against the Spanish club in last season’s Champions League last-16 tie, something they did successfully over two legs. Atletico certainly leave opponents with battle scars, though.
“When we used to play Liverpool and Chelsea, we used to say get in their faces, wind them up, run up to the referee. All the things that you see them doing in the last game, with Vrsaljko and Grealish, and pulling his hair, these are the things that they do,” Trippier told BBC Radio 5 Live Sport (13th April).
“When I went away from England sometimes I was diving on the floor messing about and I used to get grilled for it. That’s what they do, they want to wind players up. It comes from the players themselves but the manager is one of those, he does it himself, he’s asking for a yellow from minute one if there’s a tackle. That’s what he wants, in the dressing room before the game, he wants you to get in the opposition player’s faces and wind players up. Not the hair pulling, but if one of the players get tackles, he wants you to get around the ref and just get in other players faces.”
Chelsea used to have same bite
In fairness, some of the Chelsea teams from the last couple of decades could give this Atletico side a run for their money in being masters of the dark arts.
In fact, the Blues have had some divisive characters over the years who would engage in the chaos.
Diego Costa, Didier Drogba and Antonio Rudiger are some Chelsea players past and present that will always be at the thick of any confrontation.