Simeone says fans in stadium would have relished Atletico's win over Sevilla
Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone rued the absence of fans in stadiums as his side surged four points clear of bitter rivals Real Madrid at the top of La Liga.
Simeone’s team beat Sevilla 2-0 at the Wanda Metropolitano on Tuesday night to boast 41 points after 16 games.
“We faced a lot of difficulties against Sevilla,” said Simeone. “And it's a big shame there were no fans in the stadium because they would have loved a big result like that against a big rival."
Restrictions imposed as part of the Spanish government's fight to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic have prevented fans from attending matches.
Atletico, though, have flourished behind closed doors this season in their chase for their first league crown since 2014.
Both second-placed Real Madrid and Barcelona in third have played two matches more than Atletico who could parade a double digit lead if they win their games in hand.
Goals in either half from Angel Correa and Saul Niguez drove Atletico to their 13th league victory of the season despite having just five shots at goal compared to Sevilla's 13.
"We came here to win and I think we played a good game,” said Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui. “But Atletico are the best team in the world when it comes to managing both areas well.
"They manage to convince their players, who are of the highest level, to spend a long time in their own area defending and then they are very good in the opposing area.
"We had many more chances than them but we didn't take make the most of them and they did. Once they go in front it's very difficult."
Lopetegui claimed his players were tired after their exertions in Saturday's 3-2 win over Real Sociedad, while Atletico had fresher legs as their game with Athletic Bilbao was postponed because of a snowstorm.
"I'm sad because our players made such a big effort but we were playing against a well-rested team and it makes a huge difference," Lopetegui added.
"We had more chances, we won more corners, we got into their area more but in the end goals are all that count and we were not very effective."
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