Diego Simeone was proud of Atletico Madrid's performance in defeat to city rivals Real Madrid in the Supercopa de Espana final as he suggested Federico Valverde only earned the MVP award for his crucial red card.
Atletico lost 4-1 in a shoot-out on Sunday but had a huge chance to settle the decider with five minutes of extra time remaining following a goalless 90 minutes.
Alvaro Morata raced through on goal, only for Madrid midfielder Valverde to charge back to cynically hack down the striker, receiving his marching orders but preventing what appeared a certain goal just outside the area.
Valverde was named man of the match, leaving head coach Simeone frustrated, even if he recognised the 21-year-old Uruguayan had little option but to commit the foul.
With Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid tied in extra time, Federico Valverde was shown a red card for this last man tackle on Alvaro Morata.— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 13, 2020
He picked up the Man of the Match award 🏆 pic.twitter.com/vJV4TwduIN
"The MVP award for Fede Valverde was for the red card because he won the game," Simeone said.
"The most important play of the game was this action of Valverde. That play deprived us of a chance to score a goal that would probably decide the game.
"It was the most important play and I told him not to worry, that anyone would do the same in that position. I would do it."
After beating Barcelona 3-2 in the semi-finals earlier in the week, Simeone saw plenty of positives to take from the revamped four-team tournament.
"I am proud to know that we competed," he told Movistar. "In the space of three or four days, we faced two of the best teams in the world, along with Manchester City, Juventus, Liverpool.
"And we competed well. That is what generates enthusiasm to continue working. I am proud of the team for their competitiveness. If we follow the team plan, we are competitive."