By ESPNSTAR.com staff
The Europa League holders resorted to a second-string side for the game against Plzen in order to give first-team regulars such as Thibaut Courtois, Diego Godín, Falcao and Arda Turan a rest.
With nine new changes to the Atletico squad, it was understandably difficult for Simeone to be confident of a victory but Cristian Rodriguez scored a late goal in order to consolidate top spot in Group B.
And the Argentinean coach was especially impressed with the performance of Turkish midfielder Emre Belözoğlu. Emre, signed in the summer, is entering the twilight stage of his career after stints with Inter Milan and Newcastle as well as Turkish rivals Galatasaray and Fenerbahce.
"There are a lot of guys working to get time and I wanted them to enjoy it," Simeone was quoted as saying in the post-match press conference.
"I'm happy for players like Asenjo, Pulido, Cisma, Emre and others.
"We had a good first half, we knew it would be tough because they have a specific style and made it complicated for us.
"We were not good in the attack, but we improved in the second half when Emre dropped back in his position.
"It wasn`t our best version, but the goal rounded in."
Cristian Rodriguez, nicknamed as Cebolla within the squad, scored through an audacious effort that impressed the coach but the midfielder was critical of his side's performance overall in the game.
“I’m happy with the win. We played poorly for some parts of the game, but it ended well and I’m very happy with my goal," he said.
“We are still top of our group and we have to continue working hard.
“Plzen are a good team and they worked very hard, but on the positive side, we won.
“Now we have to rest. The fixture list is very demanding and after we’ve rested we’ll start thinking about our next game.”
Atletico now have a tough La Liga match-up against Malaga at the Vicente Calderón on Sunday.