Malaga, Spain, Jan 8: Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone was pleased with his team's effort in his Spanish coaching debut that ended in a scoreless draw at Malaga on Saturday.
"We have been working together seven days and (yet) we played the game we wanted to play," said the former Atletico midfielder. "I liked the solidarity and collective effort of the team."
Simeone, who took over from the fired Gregorio Manzano, had previously said he wanted a more aggressive team that looked to counterattack.
After a shaky start, his side did create the better scoring chances.
Brazilian midfielder Diego saw his shot take a deflection off a defender before rattling the crossbar in the first half, and defender Diego Godin had his header saved off the goal line by Malaga's Santi Cazorla.
Simeone opted for a lone striker in Colombia's Radamel Falcao, saving young Spaniard Adrian Lopez as a late substitute.
Even so, the result was the same as Atletico remained winless away in league play this season.
Simeone did not agree that Atletico was still stuck in the rut of playing hard but failing to win, but did acknowledge his team's difficult moment.
"The team came from losing various games," the 41-year-old Argentine said. "We have a lot of needs to address."
As a player, Simeone helped Atletico win its last Spanish league and Copa del Rey titles in 1996.
Since then he had short spells at several top-flight clubs in Argentina: Racing, Estudiantes, River Plate and San Lorenzo. He took over as coach of Italian Serie A club Catania last season before a brief return to Racing.
The draw left Atletico in 10th place, 10 points behind fourth-place Levante, which currently holds the last place to qualify for next season's Champions League.
"We have to improve," said Atletico defender Filipe Luis. "We are in a spot in the standings that we don't deserve and we have to fight to get better."