By 90Min
May 04, 2018

Diego Simone praised the "rage" possessed by striker Diego Costa after the 29-year-old's first half stoppage time finish was enough to send Atletico Madrid through to the Europa League final on Thursday night at the expense of Arsenal

The Spain international got the better of the Gunners back line on more than one occasion; however, truly punished the north Londoners after being fed through on goal before lifting his effort over David Ospina to settle the tie 1-0 (2-1 agg). 

And after leading his side to their third European final in five years, the Argentine manager hailed the frontman, who returned from a hamstring injury suffered in the quarter-finals to prove the difference. 

"Costa came for this, to be important for the team, in games like this," Simeone told ESPN. "The team needed a forward with his rage, his intensity, the mistakes he provokes in opponents. Along with the other forwards we have, that was very important."

Granit Xhaka's early 20-yard effort was the only save Jan Oblak was forced to make throughout the 90 minutes; a stark contrast to the contest a week prior at the Emirates Stadium, with Antione Griezmann, Koke and Costa, again, all coming close to extending the hosts' lead. 

"We were able to stop their counter-attacks, where they are most dangerous," the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano boss stated. "The team suffered little, and had chances to make the score a bit wider."

Simone has now guided Atletico Madrid to four European finals since taking over in 2011. But the 48-year-old deflected praise onto his large group of collaborators, including assistant German "Mono" Burgos, who replaced him on the touchline for the Arsenal clash, and insisted that overcoming Marseille in the final - who needed extra-time to see off Red Bull Salzburg - would be no easy task on May 16. 


"I'm the visible head of a group who have worked here in an extraordinary way for six years, many people working every day, so things go in a positive way," Simeone added. "There is a loyalty here that is very difficult to find.

"The club counted on us in the moment, and we keep giving our best. Stopping to think all we are doing is not good, we need to look at Espanyol, our game on Sunday, and stay second in La Liga, which is very important for us.

"This was an important step tonight, but obviously hoping for something better to come. Marseille are a difficult team, they came through a difficult game tonight, for sure it will be a great final. 

"This is a big step, but the most important one is still to come on May [16]. And we are really looking forward to that."

"This is a big step, but the most important one is still to come on May [16]. And we are really looking forward to that."

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