Kieran Trippier: “The best at the dark arts was Atlético Madrid’s Stefan Savić.”

When Kieran Trippier is asked about the “dark arts”, you can tell he enjoys that side of the game.

“I love it,” the former Atlético Madrid right-back tells The Guardian.

“The best for me was Atlético Madrid’s Stefan Savić. He used to pull people’s hair, even in training. It was crazy but I love all that. Of course, opposition fans aren’t going to like it but I think it’s good to see. I don’t see why everyone’s kicking off about it: it’s good!”

Trippier’s Newcastle take on Manchester United in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley on Sunday and he insists Newcastle that are ready to use the dark arts during the final, despite Manchester United head coach Erik ten Hag warning the referee to watch out for any timewasting tactics.

He adds: “It’s about when to slow a game down. If the opposition are on top, of course you’ve got to kill the game. You’re not going to allow them to take a quick throw-in and say: ‘Carry on.’ Some teams aren’t happy with us this season but it’s about being clever.

“Of course we’ll use it if we need to on Sunday. Man United have hit form and we’ll do everything we can to win. If you want to be successful, you have to be cute. You have to manage every single game well and at the right time. You have to know when to slow it down. Look at Real Madrid and how successful they’ve been for many, many years. Their players like Sergio Ramos and Marcelo were the best at it and they’ve won everything going.”

Trippier has previously admitted that he became a better all-round player under Atlético’s manager Diego Simeone.

The 32-year-old, who has played 40 times for England, arrived at the La Liga club from Tottenham in the summer of 2019 for a reported fee of €22m.

He spent two and a half seasons under the Argentine coach, winning a La Liga title and being an important part of the starting eleven, before returning to the Premier League to join Eddie Howe’s side.

“Diego’s an unbelievable manager. The biggest thing I learnt at Atlético was don’t mess with him or you’re coming off. I saw that on a regular basis and I’ve been on the wrong end of it playing Milan away. It’s not pretty but it’s about respect – and Diego Simeone gets it from every player, whether they’re in the team or not. He was incredible with the players who weren’t playing,” he continues.

“I learned so much from him … my defending, my positioning and, going to a different country, I matured. Atlético Madrid was a great experience. I’m absolutely delighted I went there.”

Kieran Quaile | GSFN

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