Manchester City attacking midfielder, Kevin De Bruyne claimed that Atletico Madrid used a 5-5-0 formation against his club which made it tough for them to score.
Recall that Atletico Madrid visited Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium on Tuesday, April 5, 2022, to play the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final.
On paper, the coach of Atletico Madrid, Diego Simeone used a 5-3-2 formation which means that the Spanish reigning champions used five defenders, three midfielders, and two forwards. But Kevin De Bruyne felt the Spanish side played with five defenders and five midfielders.
Due to the formation and the defensive style of Atletico Madrid, the game was so compact that no team scored throughout the first half.
In the second half, coach Pep Guardiola decided to introduce Gabriel Jesus, Jack Grealish, and Phil Foden who are known for their ability to hold the ball and cause more problems for the opponents’ defense.
The decision to introduce Foden in the second half paid off greatly as the English youngster was able to force the ball into Atletico Madrid’s defensive area before he passed the ball to Kevin De Bruyne who scored in the 70th minute.
After the goal, both sides could not break the defense of each other until the end of the game.
Due to the tactics coach Diego Simeone decided to use against Manchester City, the Spanish club did not record any shot on target. The Spanish side managed to record just 29 percent of the ball possession and made 291 passes with 71 percent pass accuracy.
As for Manchester City which used a 4-3-3 formation – four defenders, three midfielders, and three strikers recorded 15 shots, two of which were on target because of how compact Atletico Madrid’s defense was.
In terms of open play, Manchester City enjoyed 71 percent of the ball possession and made 696 passes with 90 percent of pass accuracy.
After the 1-0 slim win over Atletico Madrid which is an advantage for Manchester City ahead of the second tie on April 12, Kevin De Bruyne described the match as a very hard game.
“It was a very hard game, they play so defensively tight,” De Bruyne told BT Sport.
“They’re solid, it’s their way of playing. We played well in the circumstances, tough to create opportunities. The first half was tight, we didn’t give anything away. Second half we had a couple of chances and we took one. I made the run, and Phil found me perfectly. I needed to stay composed and luckily I did…
“It’s very hard, they played almost five in the back and five in midfield. It’s very hard to find spaces, I’d recommend to everyone who says something to us in this game to try in the training pitch.
“The way we played was good because we didn’t give anything away. We stayed calm and patient. Try to find spaces, you’ll lose balls because it’s so compact. We had a couple of chances in the second half and managed to take one.”
"I made the run and Phil found me perfectly."— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 5, 2022
"They played five at the back and five in midfield, it's very hard to find the spaces!"
Kevin De Bruyne was Man of the Match as City's patience paid off vs Atletico…#UCL | 🎙 @TheDesKelly pic.twitter.com/wypa5J3c8x
Kevin De Bruyne warns his teammates about Atletico Madrid’s antics of trying to get their opponents booked:
During the UEFA Champions League quarter-final first-leg game at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday, some Atletico Madrid players grew frustrated especially after Kevin De Bruyne’s 70th-minute goal.
The Spanish side grew frustrated that they almost pressured Jack Grealish to pick up a fight with them. That almost happened but the speedy intervention of coach Pep Guardiola prevented it from escalating.
Ahead of the second leg of the tie, Kevin De Bruyne warned his teammates to be careful in the second leg because Atletico Madrid players would want to get City’s players booked.
“It’s the way they play, it’s their style,” the Belgian midfielder said.
“We have to stay composed, don’t get into the actions or fight with them. It’s not the way we are as a team, I think we handled it well as a team. Sometimes it happens but the boys did well.
“1-0 is 1-0. No away goals but I expect a bit similar over there, maybe if the game is tight they have to attack a bit more. We played well and that’s the only thing we can do today.”
The second leg of the tie is scheduled to kick off in Madrid on Wednesday, April 13, 2022. The kick-off time is 20:00.