Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has praised half time substitutes Saul Niguez and Thomas Lemar for their roles in helping his side secure a 1-0 win against Leganes at the Wanda Metrolpolitano.

The Rojiblancos edged their visitors thanks to a goal from substitute Saul Niguez, after the 24-year-old tapped in from close range on the rebound after he saw his penalty saved by Leganes Goalkeeper Alexiy Lunin.


Simeone has admitted that his side struggled during the game but has praised his team for grinding out the victory. 

Simeone said (as quoted by Marca): "It is not easy to always win and we are competing well with fantastic players who play in various positions during a match.

"It is our strength, that is where we feel strong.

"The introduction of Saul [Niguez], [Thomas] Lemar and [Angel] Correa up top gave us vital speed."

The Argentinian manager also moved to explain his decision to substitute Atletico's top goalscorer Antoine Griezmann at half time, despite his team still searching for the opening goal of the game, with Simeone hinting that the substitution was made with one eye on his side's crucial Champions League second leg against Juventus on Tuesday.

Simeone said: "I understood that he had given what he had to give this game."


The win had temporarily closed the gap between Atletico and La Liga leaders Barcelona to four points, before Barca then extended their lead back to seven points following a 3-1 win against Rayo Vallecano.

Simeone has admitted that his side face an uphill battle to topple the leaders, however he has said that his side will continue to keep the pressure on their league rivals.

"Barcelona have been, since December, having a typical Barcelona season - always winning," he stated.


"We are doing what we can, intending to hold down our place in the leage and to improve each match to remain motivated."