Coaching legend Arrigo Sacchi has called out Atletico Madrid's style of play under Diego Simeone as “boring”.
Sacchi, who once managed Atleti himself, watched as Manchester City struggled against a low block in their 1-0 win over the Liga side in the Champions League this week.
And while Sacchi has great respect for the Argentine's achievements, he feels that more should be done to make his game plans more pleasing on the eye.
What has been said?
“Simeone has achieved many results in recent years,” Sacchi told Gazzetta dello Sport. “There is no doubt that his experience as a player in Italy has influenced him as a coach.
“First of all, don't concede goals. And then let's see what happens, let's rely on the talent of some individuals and hope for the best.
“It's true that Atletico have quality elements, but instead of buying players and spending a lot of money, they should have spent the money on changing their style.
“Let's face it: this way of playing is boring for the audience. The fans ask for beauty, they ask for emotions. What emotion can there be in a fifty-metre long ball?”
Notes from the GOAT
Sacchi recalled an anecdote from Euro 2000 to highlight his point, revealing a critical comment from Pele after Italy defeated the Netherlands in the semi-finals.
“Pele was next to me,” he said. “We won on penalties in the end, but only after spending the whole match in our own half defending.
“Pele said to me: 'Too bad. You have good players, but you don't know how to play football.' Atletico behave in the same way: defence, defence, defence.”
Atleti not out yet
Despite his distaste for Simeone's set-up, Sacchi concedes that the Spanish side are by no means beaten yet, and pointed to Pep Guardiola's lack of a back-up plan against defensive sides.
“However, we must be honest,” he continued. “The tie between the Spaniards and City is still open. Anything could happen in the second leg.
“Atletico didn't have a single shot on goal, that's true, but it's not like City had a lot. Apart from [Kevin] De Bruyne's goal, which was beautiful in its build-up and execution, I don't remember many scoring chances.
“It was a challenge for them so it wasn't fun. Atletico didn't want to play football, but City had a duty to do something more to overcome the wall.”