Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone refused to criticise his players after they were surprisingly held at home by lowly L’Hospitalet on Thursday night.Having triumphed 3-0 in the first leg of their Copa del Rey tie with the third-tier outfit, the Spanish champions were expected to coast to victory at the Vicente Calderon.
However, despite twice taking the lead through Mario Mandzukic, Atletico were pegged back by Ruban Alcarez on both occasions, with the latter levelling matters for the second time with a stunning strike with just six minutes remaining.
It was another underwhelming result for Atletico, who were beaten at home by Villarreal in La Liga at the weekend, but Simeone was keen to put things in perspective.
“We only lost one game in the Calderon this year,” the Argentine told reporters. “That speaks volumes of the work of our players and hopefully we can continue in the same way.
“With regards to the match, I’m happy. We started well and scored, but in the second half L’Hospitalet reacted well.
“They had some luck with the first goal but the second was a great goal.”
Atletico will be hoping to get back to winning ways when they travel to San Mames on Sunday to face Athletic Bilbao.