Kenny Cunningham slams "very average" Barcelona and discusses Diego Simeone's future at Atletico Madrid

The former Ireland defender was speaking on Off The Ball following Barcelona's exit from the Champions Legaue

Kenny Cunningham slams "very average" Barcelona and discusses Diego Simeone's future at Atletico Madrid

Image: Paul White / AP/Press Association Images

Atletico Madrid ended Barcelona's hopes of defending their Champions League crown after a 2-0 victory at the Vincente Calderon sent them through on aggregate.

This accounted for their third defeat in their last four matches in all competitions and has reduced their lead at the top of La Liga to just three points.

Speaking after the game, Kenny Cunningham criticised their performance.

"It was a pretty A-typical performance for Atletico, I don't think they played particularly out of their skin. It wasn't one of those occasions where you thought they were just possessed on the  evening.

"It was enough on the night against a very, very average Barcelona side."

Cunningham tried to offer some explanation to the recent lack of form within the club.

"It looks as though they've just dropped off. People say it time and again, it's not about hitting peak form in November or December time in the group stages. It's about timing and peaking around March or April time.  

"Tonight was such a flat performance from Barcelona, everything we expect from them in possession of the football. The one or two-touch football and rotating in possession, we didn't see any of that. Out of possession of the ball their famed for hunting the ball down in packs. We didn't see that.

He explained that Atletico's "workman-like" performance was down to the efforts of the players in Simeone's system.

"The players have to fit the system. The kind of workrate that's required, if you look at the backbone of that team... Gabi and you've got Koke winning ball in that midfield area. Not just the amount of running but the amount of intelligent running that they do during the course of the game, comes down to the system.

"The ethos that he's instilled and the kind of workrate that he requires hasn't really changed.

"I'm not too sure in the summer that Simeone is going to be on his bike out of the club. People might think that there's poor relations at Atletico, but you have to understand they've given him a lot of money to spend over the last few years. 

"They've lost one or two players over the years, Diego Costa to Chelsea in particular, but he's been a huge amount of money to re-invest into the squad as well. I think he's got something unique in there in terms of his relationship with the manager."