thumbnail Hello,

The Portuguese midfielder lauded the Argentine after the Rojiblancos edged a step closer to a continental and domestic double

Atletico Madrid midfielder Tiago highlighted the influence of coach Diego Simeone after Tuesday's impressive 3-1 win at Chelsea on Wednesday night.

Fernando Torres fired the Blues in front against his former club but the Rojiblancos responded with a combination of skill and grit that has been evident throughout a season that could also see them land La Liga title.

Adrian equalised almost immediately before a penalty from Diego Costa and an Arda Turan strike saw off Jose Mourinho’s men.

Tiago, who spent a season at Stamford Bridge in 2004/05, believes Simeone deserves credit for instilling such fighting qualities in his players.

He told Sky: “It’s a dream. We have a great spirit, we have a great team. We all work together and tonight we played a fantastic game and deserved to win here.

“Now we are in the final in Lisbon and dreams can come true.

“Simeone has a lot to do with that. He changed our mentality. Playing like we play, we are the strongest team in the world. We don’t have anything yet but we are close to having something.”

Mourinho was criticised for his defensive mindset in a goalless first leg but, on home soil, his willingness to push men forward played into Atletico’s hands, according to Tiago.

He added: “It’s not easy to play here at Stamford Bridge but we knew Chelsea had to play more, they had to score a goal.

“We had confidence because we were playing away from home. After we scored Chelsea went down. We knew in the second half Chelsea had to play more and we would have more space behind their defence.”

Atletico can now look forward to meeting their city rivals Real in Lisbon on May 24 and they will hope to go there as Spanish champions.

Wins in their next two fixtures, at Levante on Sunday and at home to Malaga the following weekend, will be enough for the Rojiblancos to clinch their first Liga crown since 1996.

“We are now thinking about the game on Sunday, it’s very important for us,” Tiago added. “We are confident (of beating Real Madrid) but now we must think of the league.”