Hasselbaink: Atletico not flamboyant - but effective

The Dutchman says that the Rojiblancos benefit from the fact that they are not under pressure to play attacking football but is nonetheless full of admiration for their coach

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has heaped praise on Diego Simeone, saying that while Liga leaders Atletico Madrid are "not flamboyant" they are impressively effective.

The former Rojiblancos forward says that the Argentine coach is lucky in the sense that there is no onus on him to deliver a side that not only wins but does so in style.

However, Hasselbaink nonetheless believes that Simeone has done a remarkably well to have transformed Atletico from Liga also-rans to potential champions in just over two years at the helm.

"He has given them a style that [means that] they can compete with the big teams," the Royal Antwerp boss told Perform.

"Ok, it's not as flamboyant as the others but it's working, it's competitive, he's getting results and they're hard to beat.

"He's lucky he's not the favourite, and he doesn't have to do it in the style as the other two (Real Madrid and Barcelona) have to do it, so those are his benefits.

"And this year he has taken them to the top with good football, the organisation is really good, [the] understanding between the players [is good], the togetherness, the fight.

"I am very impressed."

Hasselbaink acknowledged the importance of prolific forward Diego Costa to Atletico, but says that the way in which Simeone has set up his side means that they are not reliant on the Spain international.

"What he's brought is a system, a way of working where everyone knows what he wants, he gets them to play in a way that everyone is comfortable," the ex-Netherlands international continued.

"They know who their star player is [Costa], they are all happy with their star player, and give him the best possible chance to score.

"But they don't concede goals because they work really hard for each other when they don't have the ball."

However, Hasselbaink freely admits that the likely unavailability of Costa for next week's Champions League quarter-final second leg against Barcelona is a blow for Atletico.

"I think it [will have] a big impact because he's their star player," the Dutchman added. "They play a way to suit him, on the counter-attack, so they will need to adjust playing style a bit."

Since taking charge in December 2011, Simeone has won a Europa League and a Copa del Rey with Atletico, while they are currently a point clear of Barcelona at the summit of La Liga with seven rounds remaining.