Simeone praises Barcelona, who have managed to keep 22 clean sheets in 29 league games this season, which is quite an impressive feat.
Xavi’s work at Barcelona this season has made them difficult to break down, which has not gone unnoticed by Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone, who is renowned for his defensive organization.
Barcelona are in a strong position to secure their first league title since the 2018-19 season, sitting at the top of La Liga with a comfortable 11-point lead over Real Madrid and nine games remaining in the season.
Although Xavi’s Barcelona team has been criticized for not playing an entertaining style, they have only conceded nine goals in 29 league games this season.
In fact, they have kept an impressive 22 clean sheets in La Liga, which is at least four more than any other team in the top five European leagues. Lazio is the second-best team with 18 clean sheets.
“I like this Barcelona,” Simeone said. “It’s a different Barcelona style. They have been growing and have had a great season.
“They have improved in defense thanks to the characteristics of their players, and improving the defensive part has added more value to Xavi’s work.”
Simeone tired of stigma around Atletico
Simeone claims Atletico Madrid have not received enough recognition for their impressive performances, despite winning six consecutive league games and closing in on second-placed Real Madrid with just two points behind.
“When we started the season we were not in the best way. But if we go back a bit, to when we won La Liga, we did it by playing very well,” Simeone added.
“Sometimes a stigma is generated. Sometimes people don’t watch the games and they give their opinion just to give their opinion.
“Like Barca improving defensively, or Manchester City – who have given a very good defensive performance – we have improved, we have grown.”
Since becoming the manager of Atletico Madrid in 2011, Simeone has taken charge of 15 games at Camp Nou without a win, which is more than any other stadium he has managed in during this time.