Atlético reaches the break full of doubts, because although some things work well, getting better and better, in others the team is stagnant (or regressing) and the results suffer. Since the footballers returned from playing with their national teams in October, Atleti has only celebrated one win in six games. The League is complicated and the pass to the second round in the Champions League is a shot away from two finals. But there is a task ahead …
The most obvious problems point directly to defense. If Atlético de Simeone was characterized by its solidity for many years, that is already far away and on top of it the rivals know it. The coaches no longer say “if Atleti scores 1-0 it becomes almost impossible …”. And the 3-3 of Mestalla was another chapter of this alarming vulnerability. The team has fitted 13 goals in 12 league games and 6 in 4 of the Champions League. In the last games, they only left a clean sheet against Betis. Valencia, Liverpool (twice), Levante and Real Sociedad scored at least two goals.
Collective and individual errors
The team regrets structural and other individual failures. “We have to pay more attention, especially on set pieces”Koke demanded minutes after Mestalla’s misstep. At 3-3, Hugo Duro easily escaped from the mark of Savic (and he was not the only poorly covered Valencian player); at 2-3, the forward slipped easily between the three centrals, with Giménez out of place and Handsome watching the ram enter. In Anfield it was very marked Philip, although the rest did not come out very well. In the first leg, in the Metropolitan, it was Handsome who gave away a penalty. And you can lengthen the list of demerits of a team that sins of hoarding in the area when they are overwhelmed and, on top of that, committing unnecessary and dangerous fouls. And in these cases it suffers much more than in previous stages of cholism.
Simeone blamed himself for what happened in Mestalla. “The coach was wrong and the team lost because of the coach,” he said after the match. The technician had mounted the same plan that beat Betis (3-0) and it was going very well: in the 61st minute he was winning 1-3. Maybe that’s why Cholo delayed the changes. In 72 ‘he entered Kondogbia —Also indicated in 2-3— by strap and nothing more until 87 ‘, when retired De Paul, the midfield bra, already Suarez, which for a long time had been finding it difficult to stretch the team and go against it, by Herrera and João Felix. However, the coach did not delve into what he considers the errors that cost the victory: “Football things, they will have been seen.” Some players returned from Valencia with a negative on the card from the coach.
In search of the ideal eleven … and João Félix
The coach could barely rehearse in preseason and also the arrival on the horn of Griezmann has forced Cholo to go testing on the fly. The back of three centrals seems immovable, despite the fact that there are only four in the squad. The team is just in defense, but toAbove, at least, it seems that things do work better. The team has a goal, although Simeone still wonders what his ideal attack is.
Up front there are many pieces and, therefore, many dilemmas. Trident yes, trident no, João, Correa, Suárez when and how much … In recent games a system with three attackers and two in the middle has been established, but when Lemar and Llorente come back it may not work. To Simeone’s peace of mind, there’s plenty of dynamite. Nevertheless, It seems that João Félix is unhooking again.
Maximum alert in Champions
Now play “chew the fight”, as De Paul said, and for the return of the break they are especially concerned the matches against Milan and Porto. That is, those who will decide the classification in the Champions League. Europe does not forgive fragile teams. And in the league he can’t let any more escape to Madrid, already four points. Mestalla showed the way of what is and what is not. Atleti clearly dominated and generated chances, but two mistakes left him without a prize. And worst of all is that it is not the first time. Simeone is clear about it: work, work and work.