“We will continue to find the paths.” Simeone seemed to have found the key, but he has lost himself again. Of the six wins in a row that scared the ghosts to a streak of solo a win in six games, with the qualification for the Champions League again in question and some very worrying sensations. In Bilbao we saw a team that attacked badly, that conceded behind, an evil that seemed overcome, that physically went just right… The plan is no longer clear, with many changes in the eleven and pieces that do not work. And the one that did it best, Joao Felix, is low. Given that, Cholo asks his people to be up to the task at this difficult time.
The technician took responsibility for the failed plan and also for the bland start in San Mamés, with a goal against in the 8th minute and the impression of being run over by Athletic. At times it was even, but it always seemed to play more to what the locals wanted, more plugged in. For example, Marcelino’s men made 18 anticipations for Atlético’s seven and they won too in recoveries (63 to 52). Those of the Cholo team, in addition, were very close to their area, at an average of 30.2 meters from his goal. And Atleti, cornered, got tired of losing balls: 36 failed passes in their own half, league record. But it is that the second worst record was against Granada (34), in the previous match.
From Koke and De Paul to Kondogbia and Herrera
The team is gripped, Simeone moves pieces (five changes between the last two elevens) and nothing gets better. Against Granada he formed in the middle with Javi Serrano, Koke and DePaul. In Bilbao, with Kondogbia and Herrera, which left a poor 64% success rate in the pass in the rival field. And both bets went wrong. Not even luck was on his side. In attack it is similar. Cholo wonders how not to notice João’s absence. In San Mamés he tried with Griezmann and Suárez, dry and inconsequential beyond the lack of French to the crossbar, but Correa is also missing. And in defense, where the block seemed in tune since Reinildo’s arrival, returned to give chances and goals as in autumn.
“We will see now who knows how to be in difficult moments”, Simeone launched after the umpteenth setback in the League: nine defeats already, more than ever with the Argentine and four days to go. The technician sees himself in the labyrinth again and will continue testing, but the schedule is pressing and next is Madrid. The margin of error is minimal.