Atlético Madrid followers confronted but extra disappointment and frustration as Athletic Membership dashed their hopes of a Supercopa last look.
Athletic fought again after Unai Simón turned João Félix’s 62nd-minute header into his personal web and received 2-1 to advance to Sunday’s last towards Real Madrid. The style of Atlético’s collapse was all too acquainted for the gamers and followers.
But once more, Atleti’s noticed their silverware hopes dashed by poor defensive errors that aren’t often related to a Diego Simeone aspect. However this defeat was regarding for that cause and so many extra.
Listed here are three things we discovered from the fixture.
Set items. Once more.
This level is one which needed to be thought-about. Are you able to study one thing if you’ve already discovered it a number of instances earlier than? Impartial readers might imagine such an idea can be nonsensical. Atlético followers can guarantee you that their gamers nonetheless can not study the much-needed lesson.
On Thursday, Athletic scored two targets from two set items. Virtually unsurprisingly, the primary critical likelihood got here from a useless Mario Hermoso foul, conceded deep in his personal half, once more exhibiting an absence of self-discipline. Jan Oblak needed to be at his greatest to disclaim Iñigo Martínez from the following free kick, taken moments after Atleti had gone forward.
It solely went downhill from there.
The equalizer got here from a nook, with Iker Muniain’s supply perfectly-weighted cross for Yeray Álvarez. Yeray misplaced his marker, Koke, with a sensible routine, which caught Atleti out. José Giménez didn’t recuperate in time to forestall the free header eight yards out.
The second purpose, yet one more Muniain nook, noticed three Athletic gamers contact the ball in the field earlier than an Atleti participant did — that man being Oblak, choosing the ball out of his personal web. Nico Williams utilized the crowning glory, unmarked and ready for the ball to drop, after Yeray and Iñigo Martínez have been each left free to go and deflect the ball.
Atlético’s present defensive system isn’t working. Man-to-man marking isn’t suited to gamers with such little self-discipline or positional consciousness. A change to a extra zonal strategy may assist, however provided that executed accurately, and there might be little religion the present squad can try this.
Simeone placating his stars
The choice to carry on Luis Suárez at 1-0 up on 70 minutes was fairly merely inexplicable.
The veteran’s entry may have made sense had Atlético been searching for a purpose, however the mixture of a crew sitting deeper to defend their lead whereas introducing him was baffling.
However in phrases of studying from it, what went on? It’s arduous to think about Simeone noticed Suárez serving to Atlético with their counter-attacking play. His tempo shouldn’t be what it as soon as was, nor what different gamers may supply, and Athletic have been capable of include him simply. Suárez’s motion continues to be spectacular, however he had little assist. The Uruguayan was making runs alone, with no actual choice to move as soon as on the ball.
It might be argued Suárez affords extra of a focus as a centre-forward, permitting a extra direct strategy from the Atlético aspect. That is the type of quantity 9 that Atlético haven’t changed since Diego Costa’s departure over a yr in the past. Atlético lack a participant who will sit in between the opposition’s central defenders, win aerial battles, and customarily look to carry the ball up by being a nuisance.
Is that the place Simeone sees Suárez’ future this season? Probably.
Alternatively, it’s simply as attainable Simeone knew that leaving Suárez as an unused substitute would enrage the participant. There has already been speak of his attainable departure, both in the summer season and even as quickly as this winter, and Suárez’s significance to the squad is clear. Having left him on the bench with Antoine Griezmann already dominated out was maybe a shocking name from Simeone, however it was one he ought to have caught with. If Cholo’s choice decisions are based mostly on meritocracy, as they all the time have been, Suárez didn’t deserve a shot in Riyadh.
(Matheus Cunha, left on the bench for one more quarter-hour, may have completed a greater job — not solely in suiting the counter-attacking type, but in addition along with his work fee to assist the crew defensively.)
Would Luis Suárez have been the substitute had his title not been Luis Suárez? It’s a troublesome query to reply, and one which few would ever count on to ask a coach as brave as Simeone.
An actual lack of management
Josema Giménez’s damage time sending-off was the second that encapsulated all that was going incorrect with Atlético. Giménez needed to apologize on social media Friday morning for his headless hen act, going right into a problem along with his studs up at head top. Coming from the crew’s third captain, this can be a clear indication of the expertise and maturity missing in this squad.
Think about Gabi or Diego Godín making a problem like that. These are the figures Atleti are so desperately lacking.
Atlético regarded fragile. Even after conceding the primary purpose, the Colchoneros have been visibly nervous on the subsequent set piece and struggling. Gamers regarded devoid of confidence and unclear in the set-up.
And sadly, the chaos didn’t finish on the pitch.
“If, after the purpose, we go for extra, slightly than sitting again and ready, things like at the moment can occur,” vice-captain Jan Oblak stated after the ultimate whistle.
For the altering room’s second-in-command to return out and seemingly criticise his coach so publicly is exceptional in the Simeone period.
But so to was Cholo’s post-match response.
“Lodi may have discovered João on the appropriate and he despatched it huge, we may have completed higher. Carrasco had folks forward of him to shoot and he didn’t see them,” he raged in his press convention. This, coming from a coach who has virtually by no means singled out people to the media.
It’s evident that each one shouldn’t be nicely in the Atlético camp. Far past tactical set-ups, who can play at right-back, or an imbalance between assault or defence, Atlético followers needs to be involved by the clear lack of unity. Final season, Simeone had the crew working as a unit, getting extra out of them than the worth of their particular person elements. This season, every particular person half is underperforming, and there’s clear friction between them.
Such a state of affairs shouldn’t be sustainable, and Simeone could be the person to finish up paying for it.