LEAGUES

Simeone: Every Atletico game is now a final

5 months ago
Share

Atletico Madrid have 10 games left to rescue a Champions League place and Diego Simeone has laid down a challenge to his players.

Diego Simeone challenged his Atletico Madrid players to treat every remaining LaLiga match like a final after a 1-1 draw at Athletic Bilbao hindered their top-four hopes.

Throughout his eight-and-a-half-year tenure, Simeone has expanded Spain's big two to a big three – most notably when Atleti pipped Barcelona and Real Madrid to the title in 2013-14.

However, they lie sixth in the standings after Saturday's stalemate at San Mames, with a 13th top-flight draw this season setting an unwanted club record.

In their previous competitive match before the coronavirus shutdown, Atletico sensationally dumped holders Liverpool out of the Champions League to reach the quarter-finals.

However, their participation in next season's competition is far from assured and fourth-placed Real Sociedad could open up a three-point advantage when they host Osasuna later on Sunday.

"The aim for the two teams was to always try to win, we started well in the first 10 minutes, then they positioned themselves better and they won the second ball and they did not let us attack," Simeone told reporters, after watching Diego Costa find a quickfire response to Iker Muniain's opener.

"The goal came, the reaction, after a very well-constructed play.

"In the second half we were closer to that victory. Santiago Arias' chance was the clearest. He could have allow us to take the victory in a stadium where you always have to work to win.

"We have one final left in each match."

Simeone picked two-goal Anfield hero Marcos Llorente in an advanced role behind Costa, leaving striker Alvaro Morata on the bench until the 63rd minute.

Nevertheless, the Atleti boss would not rule out pairing them as a front two in future, with a Wednesday trip to Osasuna in LaLiga on the agenda.

"Seeing what I see and knowing the squad, I interpreted this situation to be like this today," he said.

"Over time, they will be able to coexist. We understood that Marcos could give us some incision like he did, with some sprints, some passes and the dirty work."

Related news

Koke fears for Atletico Madrid's Champions League hopes

5 months ago

Atleti-woe Madrid: Simeone's side set club record with 13th LaLiga draw

5 months ago

LaLiga fixtures: Barcelona to face Atletico Madrid on June 30

5 months ago

Athletic Bilbao 1-1 Atletico Madrid: Costa back in the goals as Atleti are held

5 months ago

Braithwaite's joy at 'amazing' first Barca goal

5 months ago

Rumour Has It: Man Utd prepared to sacrifice to beat Real Madrid to Van de Beek

5 months ago

Setien pleased as Barcelona make winning return

5 months ago

Messi makes more LaLiga history with 20th goal of 2019-20

5 months ago

Real Mallorca 0-4 Barcelona: LaLiga leaders make winning return

5 months ago

Vidal: I want to feel important at Barcelona

5 months ago

Zidane glad to have 'fully fit' Hazard and Asensio, but accepts Jovic may miss rest of season

5 months ago

Atletico can't support Costa and Morata playing together, says Simeone

5 months ago

Stoichkov would give up Golden Boot for Messi to win the World Cup

5 months ago

Rumour Has It: Liverpool lead Sancho race, Man Utd eye Lazio's Immobile

5 months ago

Barca haven't discussed Ansu Fati sale – Vilajoana responds to Man Utd links

5 months ago

Saul Niguez focused on Atletico Madrid amid Man Utd rumours

5 months ago

Setien reveals Arthur talks amid rumours of Barcelona exit

5 months ago

Are Real Madrid going backwards? The numbers behind Zidane's first 199 games

5 months ago

Odegaard not expected to return to Real Madrid for next season

5 months ago