Simeone took stock after defeating Real Sociedad. Those three points serve Atlético to finishing third in a League where the Champions positions had been in danger and certifies his tenth consecutive podium, all the complete courses he has played with Cholo on the bench. Since 2012-13 also 70 points are always reached (ends with 71)you get the seven million at stake on the last day, in the European competition, they reached the quarterfinals, bordering on extra time against a Manchester City champion of the Premier, and a noticeable improvement is achieved in the second round.
However, the growth of the club with the coach on the bench forces us to think of higher levels than remaining 15 points from the head, not offering regularity or good football sensations and especially being unable to defend title and fight to link two championships in a row in what was the great objective of Atlético after reinforcing itself with important players in the summer market. With that hodgepodge of sensations, Simeone spoke through the locker room leaving signs of relief, final joy, frustration and a bittersweet taste for what years ago it would have been a great success, but today it is to fulfill the file.
“One always wants to win and to win is to be champion. It is not easy, because we live in a League with Real Madrid and Barcelona, which is very difficult to compete against them (…) This season is a wake-up call, because they also cut us. Villarreal, Sevilla, Real Sociedad, Betis… they grow day by day, they play better and better, they have extraordinary footballers, very good coaches and this year we were very close to not making it”, the coach began by explaining.
In addition, he left a message about the template chip change. “The match against Levante appeared, a very important meeting of the club with the coaching staff and footballers where he made the objective very clear and We all come together to get there. We were eleven points behind against Sevilla, no one thought of being able to pass them, but we succeeded, because everything focused on something concrete. When things focus on something concrete, the path is better”. Something that he reiterated later: “The rebelliousness and drive of our footballers who were able to change the path that looked very bad leaves us excited. When the goal is focused and we all think about Atlético, it’s easier for everyone”. Players like Giménez have previously referred to an excess of relaxation to see themselves champions and Simeone wanted to repeat that message of the need to focus on one goal, game by game before the milkmaid accounts.
The rojiblanco club is already beginning to prepare for next season after experiencing one of the most difficult years in the last decade. That is also Simeone, that the difficulty culminates in a third place and among the eight best teams in Europe. The team ends up with a need to improve their grades in various aspects. Many first parts thrown, a defensive fragility that has been corrected, little imagination in the game, the lack of a scorer, positions to reinforce… And a long summer ahead. Cholo emphasized the difficulties that the team has had to meet, but also how hard the road has been in the Champions League, playing against the current finalist of the competition (Liverpool), the champion of Italy (Milan), the one from Portugal (Oporto) and the one from England (City). Now, it’s time to recharge batteries. And Nélson Vivas, second technician, has a clear diagnosis: “There are years that you win and others that you learn.” A course with many doubts, with nothing to celebrate, but where the damage has been reduced to a minimum.