Herrera: Simeone's defence-first mindset a perfect fit for Atletico Madrid

By Sports Desk December 01, 2023

Diego Simeone's passion and defence-first tactics make him an ideal fit at Atletico Madrid, according to Hector Herrera.

Herrera played under Simeone at Atleti for three years between 2019 and 2022, winning the 2020-21 LaLiga title with the club before heading to MLS with Houston Dynamo.

Simeone has enjoyed great success since he was appointed at Atleti in 2011, leading them to a pair of league titles, two Europa League trophies as well as two Champions League finals, albeit losing both to city rivals Real Madrid.

The 53-year-old took charge of his 100th Champions League game with Atleti as they won 3-1 away at Feyenoord on Tuesday to clinch a last-16 place. Simeone is one of just three coaches to manage 100 or more Champions League games with the same team, joining Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, who managed the feat with Manchester United and Arsenal respectively.

Simeone has often been described as a defensive coach, though Herrera believes his former boss, known by many as 'Cholo', instead uses his conservative tactics to give his team more license to go and attack.

"The people outside think that the game is defensive, but Cholo's idea is clear," Herrera told Stats Perform. "First you have to defend to be able to attack later.

"He always said that you start by being good defensively, and then you can create danger. They believe that the best way to attack is to defend and I think that works well for them.

"It is a way of playing that has given him a lot of success and when I was there too. He works and makes it very clear to you what you have to do on the pitch."

Simeone will enter his 13th year as Atleti head coach in December, having signed a new contract in November that will keep him with the club until 2027.

Herrera believes the views of Simeone and the club align and that is why he chose to stay on, saying: "They are one for another. Atletico is for Cholo and Cholo is for Atletico.

"They have the same passion for the club and for football, that's why it's gone so well. He is a coach who feels a lot about football and his profession. He has a very clear idea of himself and the identity of the club.

"All of this is why he has done so well and has earned to continue being the team's coach."

Related items

  • Flick urges Barcelona to bring 'game winners' into Camp Nou Flick urges Barcelona to bring 'game winners' into Camp Nou

    Hansi Flick has urged Barcelona to sign players "who can win games" as they await their first signing at Camp Nou this transfer window.

    The former Bayern Munich manager is preparing for his first season in charge of the Blaugrana but is currently set to go into their preseason tour of the United States without any new faces in the squad.

    Barcelona have been heavily linked to Spain's Euro 2024 winners Nico Williams and Dani Olmo, with the former their primary target ahead of the new season.

    Speaking in his first interview with the club's official media team, Flick vowed to take them to the "next level", noting that transfers will play a big part in that process.

    "We have to bring in a player who can win games, but we also have young players who we have to help so that they can improve," Flick said.

    "I've felt from day one the passion that the people have. The fans. Everyone. The president. Everyone here, those who work here, have that passion for Barca. The devotion to give their best for this club.

    "And that's also something big for us because we want to be part of this entity and live this passion and this devotion.

    "We want to give everything we have to take this club to the next level. We will do everything possible."

    While no new signings have been brought in, Barca have seen three players out of the door, with Sergino Dest (PSV), Marc Guiu (Chelsea) and Marcos Alonso (free agent) all departing.
  • Alexander-Arnold says Lineker's Euro 2024 criticism of England was warranted Alexander-Arnold says Lineker's Euro 2024 criticism of England was warranted

    Trent Alexander-Arnold admits England's players agreed with Gary Lineker's controversial description of the Three Lions' Euro 2024 performances as "s***".

    Lineker hit out at England's display in a 1-1 group-stage draw with Denmark on his podcast, The Rest is Football, in comments that attracted a fierce response from captain Harry Kane.

    Kane responded by saying former England players in the media had a "responsibility" when it came to discussing the national team, calling on them to be more supportive.

    Alexander-Arnold, however, says many in the camp agreed with Lineker's criticism and feels some used it as motivation as the Three Lions grew into the tournament, finishing as runners-up to Spain.

    "We had all seen it and heard it and felt it," the Liverpool ace told The Daily Mirror. "We all knew that we could be playing and performing better. 

    "It is never nice for someone to point that out but everyone deep down knew it within ourselves, too.

    "It was something we were already thinking about, we knew we needed to be better. We had to add that to our performances, some players may have used that as motivation."

    England created chances worth just 6.15 expected goals (xG) in their seven games in Germany, with only Scotland (0.32), Serbia (0.7), Slovenia (0.81), Albania (0.82) and Italy (0.84) averaging a lower xG figure per game than their 0.88.

    The Three Lions needed a stoppage-time overhead kick from Jude Bellingham to overcome Slovakia in the last 16, a penalty shoot-out to advance against Switzerland in the quarter-finals and a last-minute Ollie Watkins winner to beat the Netherlands in the semi-finals.

    After England's dramatic run ended with a 2-1 final loss to Spain, manager Gareth Southgate announced his resignation following eight years at the helm.

    Alexander-Arnold believes the Three Lions' aim for the 2026 World Cup must be to finally get over the line, promising the squad will give their all for Southgate's successor.

    "Everyone has a high expectation with England now and rightly so, it is true of us as players," he added.

    "We feel we should be winning tournaments, that is the goal and standard we have set ourselves. That will be there for the new manager."

  • Bayern sporting director Eberl suggests Kimmich future in doubt Bayern sporting director Eberl suggests Kimmich future in doubt

    Bayern Munich sporting director Max Eberl has suggested Joshua Kimmich's future at the club could be in question, saying no player is guaranteed a regular starting place.

    Kimmich has entered the final 12 months of his contract with Bayern, who he joined in 2015 and has helped win eight Bundesliga titles and one Champions League.

    Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Manchester City have all been linked with a move for the 29-year-old, who endured a difficult 2023-24 campaign.

    Kimmich reportedly had a strained relationship with former Bayern boss Thomas Tuchel, as the club saw their 11-year stranglehold on the Bundesliga title ended by Bayer Leverkusen.

    Speaking to Welt am Sonntag, Eberl hinted every player in the Bayern squad must prove themselves ahead of Vincent Kompany's first season in charge.

    "Joshua is a very good player, but it is generally true that professional football is a competitive sport," Eberl said. 

    "We cannot say to any player; 'Hey, you are the one who is going to play.

    "I'm just saying what applies to everyone. We have exciting players in all positions and therefore many alternatives."

    Bayern strengthened their midfield options by clinching a deal for Fulham's Joao Palhinha earlier this month, having already signed Michael Olise from Crystal Palace.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.