Jose Mourinho surprisingly defended by rival manager

Atletico Madrid

Mourinho's defensive tactics have faced much criticism, but they have been praised by Diego Simeone - the manager he is hoping to outsmart tonight.

Jose Mourinho has come under criticism this week for the defensive tactics that he employed in Chelsea’s crucial 2-0 win against Liverpool on Sunday, but has been supported by Diego Simeone.

The Portuguese manager went to Anfield and played a system which put precedence on keeping men behind the ball and looking to stifle any momentum that the game had. As a result, many fans and pundits have accused Mourinho of adopting an ‘anti-football’ approach.

But Simeone, who manages Atletico Madrid, Chelsea’s opponents in this evening's Champions League semi-final, says that he has a great deal of respect for Mourinho’s tactics and that football would be boring if everyone played the same way.

"I'm a football man and I respect different ways of setting up a team for a match," the 44-year-old said in his press conference before the match. "It always depends on what you believe is the best way for a specific game or a specific opponent.

"I know that to defend well is not easy, so I congratulate teams who do that well. At the same time, to attack well isn't easy, either. So you have to congratulate coaches who get their sides doing that.

"Football evolves, it changes all the time. There is no 'best way' of playing, nobody can give you the 'truth' about football.

"It also depends on the manager spending a lot of time with his players, talking different set-ups and tactics, different approaches and styles. But, in the end, it's important the team, the club, the institution wins, regardless of how it is achieved.

"There is no 'one way' to play football. If we all played the same way, it would be very boring. You can play 10 at the back or 10 up front. What matters is the result."

Atletico go to Stamford Bridge knowing that a score-draw or better will see them reach the final of the competition, where they will play Real Madrid, after a 0-0 draw in the first leg at the Vicente Calderon.

The Argentine has worked wonders during his time in-charge of Atleti and they are now in with a chance of completing a domestic and European double – a remarkable achievement considering they were rank outsiders to win both competitions at the start of the season.

Chelsea, meanwhile, are still harboring hopes of claiming the Premier League title, but will require Liverpool and Manchester City to slip-up in the run-in if they are to end up winning the league.

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