Atletico Madrid practised training 10 vs 11 just one day before their 1-1 Europa League draw with Arsenal, according to midfielder Thomas Partey.
The midfield enforcer revealed that manager Diego Simeone had something of the gift of foresight ahead of the clash at the Emirates last Thursday as Atleti were forced to play the vast majority of the clash a man light following Sime Vrsaljko’s sending off.
Speaking exclusively to the Independent ahead of the return fixture in the semi finals, at Wanda Metropolitano, Partey revealed how Simeone conducted drills of 10 vs 11 in what some fans will joke was a premonition due to the outcome of the game.
He said: “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 him.
“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.”
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Arsenal seemed to have done enough to secure a 1-0 home win in the first leg as Alexandre Lacazette’s goal gave them the lead against Los Rojiblancos in north London.
However, Antoine Griezmann’s shock equaliser near the end of the clash ensured that Atleti returned to the Spanish capital with a vital away goal ahead of the second leg encounter with Arsene Wenger’s Gunners.
Arsenal are desperate to win the Europa League for their departing boss but face a huge task in seeing off Atletico on the continent to do so.