Has Diego Simeone become a game changer?

Graham Hunter joins Off The Ball to discuss the Argentine manager and last night's goalscorer Saul Niguez

Has Diego Simeone become a game changer?

Image: Francisco Seco / AP/Press Association Images

Atletico Madrid have the advantage heading into their Champions League semi-final second leg after a 1-0 victory over Bayern Munich last night.

Diego Simeone's side are aiming for a second champions league final in three years, where they came within a whisker of beating Real Madrid in 2014.

Barcelona's slip in La Liga has re-energised Atletico's title push and it appears they've progressed from a good side to win that is capable of competing at the highest level, consistently.

Graham Hunter joined Ger on Off The Ball this evening and questioned whether Simeone's tinkering with his squad may be a big factor driving this Atletico side toward unprecedented new heights.

"Whatever level a Simeone or a Guardiola is at and they can influence the game while it's in play, it still comes down to the 22 players on the pitch" he said.

"Koke is probably reaching that higher plane now after starring domestically and he's been a strong part of Atleti being good to being a trophy winner... Maybe he didn't kick on at the same rate over the last 18 months but now more being allowed to play in the middle of the park he's beginning to take responsibility. 

Atletico Madrid's Saul Niguez celebrates scoring the winning goal of the game.

"Now he's changing games, he's making sure games don't get away from Atleti. Saul Niguez must be the same. He's a player that for some amount of time has looked talented and quick and clever and diligent. He presses and works on winning the ball back.   

"It's elements like that that lend themselves to a great orchestra conductor like Simeone. It's rare what they have at the club now, that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. When you align the players, coaches, fitness coaches and the fans... they are without doubt crafting themselves into a scenario when the whole is greater than the sum of the parts."