Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone epitomised superstition by doing the exact same routine for two trips to Manchester in a matter of weeks.

The La Liga winners bested Manchester United in the Champions League round of 16, drawing the first leg 1-1 and then beating the Red Devils 1-0 at Old Trafford on 15 March.

Renan Lodi scored the only goal of the game as Atleti conjured up a defensive masterclass.

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Simeone is known for his specific, much-maligned style of play and very rarely changes too much in his approach.

But he took that to extreme, meticulous levels ahead of the Champions League quarter final first leg, where Atleti were back in Manchester to play Premier League champions City.

Image: PA

According to Spanish outlet El Chiringuito, 

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Simeone did absolutely everything the same in his preparation.

 

Both flights to Manchester left Madrid at 11:30 and Atleti travelled on the same bus and stayed in very same hotel as last time.

The press conference was scheduled for the same hour, as was training, and once again midfielder Marcos Llorente did the media duties.

However, the main difference between the two fixtures against Manchester’s big guns was the result.

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Atleti, more or less playing a 5-5-0 formation, frustrated City for large spells but were undone in the 70th minute when Kevin De Bruyne slotted home past Jan Oblak after a fine run and pass from Phil Foden.

Los Rojiblancos didn’t even manage a shot on target in 90 minutes and must turn it around in the second leg at the Wanda Metropolitano.

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Reflecting on the narrow loss, Simeone said: “It was a difficult match, very difficult, against an extraordinary team, they are possibly the best team in the world, but we compete with humility.

“We wanted a tight game and to come out on the counter-attack. In the first half we didn’t manage to get out, even though they didn’t have a shot on goal. In the second half when we were more dangerous, they found a goal.”

Featured Image Credit: Image: PA

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