Kieran Tripper has hit back at criticism of Atletico Madrid’s style of play following the club’s victory over Liverpool in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Diego Simeone’s side progressed to the last eight of the Champions League with a 4-2 aggregate victory over the runaway Premier League leaders, coming back from two goals down in the second leg at Anfield to book their place in the quarter-finals.
Despite the result, however, Atletico were heavily criticised for their defensive approach over the two fixtures, with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp claiming the Spanish side did not play ‘proper football’ following his side’s defeat on Merseyside.
Former Spurs defender Tripper has now hit back at those claims and defended Atletico’s notoriously resilient style, praising his side’s ability to execute their game plan to perfection and insisting the results is ‘the most important thing’.
“People have this perception that we’re a defensive side, but I think they’re getting too carried away with the way we played against Liverpool,” Trippier told the Mirror.
“If you go there and go toe-to-toe with Liverpool, you’re going to get beat 6-0. I don’t know what people expect.
“You see pundits complaining because we did defend, but did they expect us to go there and play attacking football, especially with Liverpool playing the way that they’re playing at the moment?
“You need to go there with a plan and we did that. We did have to defend, but the most important thing is that we got the win.”
The England international added that Atletico knew the hosts would tire as they desperately attempted to overturn a first-leg deficit, and admits he is unfazed by criticism of the Spanish side in the wake of their victory.
“We knew they would blow up because of the amount of pressure they’d applied and the amount of energy they’d put into the game,” he added.
“We knew they’d slow down. It took us over 100 minutes, but we won 3-2.
“People can complain as much as they want, but we thought it was necessary for that type of game.
“As I’ve got older it has stopped bothering me.
“Liverpool didn’t put their chances away and we beat them in both legs. It worked.”