CHIEF troll Diego Simeone got his wind-up tactics going more than 24 hours before kick-off at Old Trafford – by removing the MUTV microphone in the press conference.
The Atletico Madrid manager addressed the media on Monday ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League second leg against Manchester United.
And he started the mind games early.
As he settled into his seat, Simeone tested the audio equipment was all working fine.
The United in-house media channel’s mic was clearly branded with the MUTV lettering and Red Devils badge.
So the cheeky Argentine picked it up and moved it aside so it didn’t pick up his comments in a simple but effective prank.
The annoyed United cameraman was overheard moaning: “No, no, I need that. That’s mine.
“Point it at Diego.”
Simeone leant into the other mic and, with his wry smile across his face, said: “Unpredictable things also happen in the game.”
One fan on Twitter wrote: “He’s the king of s***housery – no doubt about it.”
Simeone’s side go into the second leg locked at 1-1 after Anthony Elanga cancelled out Joao Felix’s header in Madrid.
The Atleti team landed in Manchester on Monday before checking into the Lowry Hotel – with striker Luis Suarez spotted clutching his personalised flask.
But Simeone knows he has to get his tactics spot on to keep Cristiano Ronaldo quiet.
Fresh from his stunning hat-trick against Tottenham at the weekend, the 37-year-old issued a rallying cry.
He said: “Tomorrow is one of those days that we’ve all been waiting for.
CHELTENHAM FREE BETS AND SIGN UP OFFERS – ALL THE LATEST DEALS FOR THE RACING THIS WEEK
“One of those chances to show the world the reason why Old Trafford is known as the Theatre of Dreams.
“Let’s recreate the amazing atmosphere that we saw in our last home game.
“Let’s keep our Champions League dream alive! We are Man Utd! Let’s do this together! Let’s go, Devils!”
Meanwhile, Teddy Sheringham told SunSport ‘phenomenal’ Ronaldo still has plenty to offer.
He said: “I think when you look at all the three goals, it shows you he’s still about, he’s still a force to be reckoned with.
“His first goal, we’ve seen him score many a goal like that. His second goal he’s getting it in the six-yard box for a tap-in and the third goal, he’s scored many a goal like that too – in the air, getting up, heading it exactly where it wants to go. Phenomenal.”
United boss Ralf Rangnick looks set to have the help of Bruno Fernandes and Luke Shaw who both missed Saturday’s win over Spurs after contracting Covid.