Los Rojiblancos scored a late winner through Luis Suarez at Mendizorroza. Marcos Llorente gave Atlético the lead in the first half, but Felipe’s own goal looked like it took two points away.

The Argentine coach praised his players for beating Alaves

Diego Simeone praised his Atletico Madrid players for their 2-1 win over Alaves on Sunday. Los Rojiblancos scored a late winner through Luis Suarez at Mendizorroza. Marcos Llorente gave Atlético the lead in the first half, but Felipe’s own goal looked like it took two points away. “It’s always difficult for us here,” Simeone said at full-time. “Alaves have an excellent way to compete. They did it today without giving us space between the lines and not getting ahead. The game changed with Marcos Llorente’s play… and that goal. In the second half, they turned the heat up because we could not finish off various chances. We had a game, but we couldn’t finish it off. Then their goal came.”

Atletico are back on the top of the LaLiga table

“The best thing today is the way the team finished the game without being nervous. Suarez’s goal is great. It is where No.9 should be. It was tough for us”. Joao Felix set up Suarez’s winner having initially been left on the bench by his coach, who explained the decision. “It was a choice,” Simeone said of João Felix’s absence from the start. “I thought Correa’s work on the right was outstanding. Matches last 90 minutes. It is a strategy. Joao came and did very well like Saul.” The win brings Atlético back to the top of the table in LaLiga as their title race with Real Madrid continues. “Our interpretation of the title race is to keep playing game after game,” Simeone added. “It’s difficult. You can’t allow yourself to relax.”

“It’s going to be harder in the second half of the season with those who are playing to keep up, those who are fighting for the Champions League. That generates an alert, for which the only means is to go game by game.”