Diego Simeone was left frustrated by Atletico Madrid’s first-half display against Barcelona but insists that their Copa del Rey hopes are not yet over.

Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi struck before half-time in the semi-final first leg at the Vicente Calderon, and although Antoine Griezmann scored after the break, Barca held on for a valuable 2-1 win.

They started better, hurting us in behind the players going forward, and that’s how the first goal came about,” Atleti’s head coach told a news conference.

“Then came the spectacular goal from Messi and that left us short of hope of producing a better first half.

Atletico host Leganes in LaLiga on Saturday before they travel to Catalonia for next Tuesday’s second leg, and Simeone wants his players to continue the form they showed in the second half in order to build some momentum.

“What I said in the dressing-room [at half-time] stays there, but I’m very happy with the impression of the second half,” he added. “We have to hope this continues and we’ll be able to show it on Saturday.”

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