Thomas Partey has revealed that Atletico Madrid were prepared to play with 10 men before their 1-1 draw against Arsenal.
Within 10 minutes into the encounter in north London, Sime Vrsaljko was sent off after picking two yellow cards. Also, manager Diego Simeone was sent to the stands moments later.
Antonio Griemann’s 82nd-minute strike cancelled out Alexandre Lacazette's opener to earn the visitors an away goal advantage.
And the 24-year-old, on parade last Thursday, stated how Simeone’s instinct helped the team’s preparation.
“Firstly, for me the sending off was a wrong call from the referee and sometimes its easy for us to just dwell on it and lose the game but we were so determined to get something from there," Partey told The Independent.
“The thing about Simeone a lot of people don’t know is that his instincts are always right, we trained playing 10 vs 11 the day before the game and he kept telling us that we might end up a man down and it came earlier than expected.
“I feel so privileged being trained by such a coach for some time now the media always talks about how well players are paid and how we live a luxurious life but for those who know me I keep saying that every player will improve like me if they train under the boss.
“I don’t know what other clubs do but every training session is a battle here because the team keeps changing based on how hard you train and perform in games.”
Ahead of the return fixture at the Wanda Metropolitano, the Ghana international is aware of their visitors' drive to win the competition for outgoing manager Arsene Wenger.
“The tie is not over but of course not to sound arrogant we know what we have to do to get to the final," he continued.
“They have their mission to sign off Wenger very well but we also have to continue to ensure that every season we are among the best in Europe and that is where our fire comes from.
“Things can change so fast in football so we don’t have to lower our guard, we know we have world class players but Arsenal has also world class players so it will all come down to the determined team so we will be ready for them for another battle.”
Partey broke into Atletico Madrid first team in 2015 after loan moves at Mallorca and Almeria. And the midfielder who has scored five goals in 46 appearances across all competitions this term has revealed his ultimate fan.
“After every game, I speak to my father. He is my number one fan and I will never forget how we were and when it all started for me,” he added.
“We have come a long way. You have seen my entire family back in Ghana and I am conscious to how we use to live so yeah some people forget where they come from but I have a mental picture of my father so I keep it as a reminder on my way to the top.”