Simeone heaps praise on Atletico

The Rojiblancos held Juventus to a goalless draw in Turin on Tuesday to finish as Group A winners in the Champions League.

Atletico had already met Simeone’s objective of progressing to the last 16 of the competition.

“Our first aim was to win the (Spanish) Supercup against Real Madrid and we did that,” Simeone told his club’s official website. “Our second aim was to reach the last 16 of the Champions League and we have achieved this by finishing top of our group.

“We have a lot of expectations.

“It’s clear that all the teams that compete in the Champions League are complicated rivals.

“Without a doubt, it gives me a lot of joy that for a second straight year we have finished top of our group.

“More so, considering our poor start to the competition and the fact that first spot was still at risk.”

Last season’s finalists lost their group opener 3-2 at Olympiacos but hit back with four straight wins to head into the game in Turin with a three-point advantage over the Italians.

A victory by two goals or more would have seen Juve leapfrog Atletico into top spot.

“I am very happy with the work done by my players,” Simeone said. “We faced a big rival like Juve is and we were able to take a point without conceding a goal.

“To have kept a clean sheet is a positive sign because it means the team has worked well.”

Atletico will now turn their attention to the domestic competition.

The Spanish champions are third in La Liga, four points adrift of leaders Real Madrid.

Simeone’s side next face Villarreal at home on Sunday.