Diego Simeone hailed Atletico Madrid's fighting qualities after they salvaged a 2-2 draw at LaLiga newcomers Girona despite having Antoine Griezmann sent off.
Cristhian Stuani's quickfire first-half brace left Atletico reeling and a red card for Griezmann, booked for dissent immediately after receiving a caution for simulation in the 67th minute, appeared to seal their fate.
But substitute Angel Correa rifled in at the end of a solo run with 12 minutes to play and Jose Gimenez converted Koke's 85th-minute free-kick.
Atleti still needed a superb stoppage-time save by Jan Oblak from Olarenwaju Kayode to escape with a share of the spoils but Simeone was satisfied – given the circumstances – at his post-match news conference.
"At 2-0 down many people thought the game was over, even more so with 10 players," he said.
"We never give up. We got a result which looked impossible.
"Nobody gives you anything here. Newly promoted teams always make it very uncomfortable."
Simeone was in no mood to mull over or speculate upon the precise reasons for Griezmann's first dismissal in 253 LaLiga games.
"I have not spoken with him," he said, refusing to comment further.
While keen to praise his team's performance, Girona's late collapse left a bitter taste for Simeone's opposite number Pablo Machin.
"I'm not happy, the draw does little for me," he said, having highlighted fatigue as a factor for his men during the closing stages.
"We deserved to win the match. We have created chances against a solid team like Atletico.
"This is the way to go. Despite not having won, we are a new team and this game gives us confidence to continue working.
"I only accept draws when I think my team deserved to lose. I do not feel like that today."
21. März 2018
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