Saul Niguez appeared to question Diego Simeone’s tactics after Atletico Madrid’s goalless draw with arch-rivals Real Madrid on Saturday.
Atleti were on the back foot for most of the Derbi, despite the two best chances falling to them, but Saul suggested Simeone’s insistence on the side defending so deeply and playing with just two attacking outlets made things ‘difficult’.
“This point leaves a bittersweet taste in our mouths,” the midfielder said after the game.
“The team did well, we had chances to take the lead, but it wasn’t to be. We have to think about the next game. We can’t do any more than that.
“Nothing on the counterattack? It depends a bit on the other team too, but the truth is that when we recover the ball so far away from their goal and there are only two players in attack, it’s difficult.
“If the ball is won back by a midfielder, it’s not easy for them to drive 70 metres forward. It’s caused by a bit of both [ourselves and our opponents].
“We’re doing pretty well in the League. We haven’t lost yet, although we’ve drawn when we should’ve won, but the team always transmit good feelings in the League. We have to be ambitious and you have to want more.
“Not scoring is penalising us, but we know that when we go ahead, we’re a complicated team to face.
“Barca are at a very good level, so we have to keep going game by game. We’ve done some good things, and we have to keep doing them.
“Whistles to Griezmann? He’s working like he usually does, and that’s the only thing that concerns me.
“The day Grizi stops doing that, we’ll say something to him, but he’s working hard and that’s what matters.
“It’s a pity that he isn’t scoring goals, but he’s still very important to the team. It’d be a pity to lose him because of the whistles.
“We’re all with him, he contributes on and off the field, transmits happiness and that madness he has. I’m not scoring goals either!
“We have to stick by him. Grizi’s involved in what we’re doing. Will Costa will improve him? Costa’s arrival will improve the team because he’s a great player.
“Grizi is super-clever. He knows how to play in any position, he knows how to look for spaces, he knows what to do with whom he plays. He’s very clever.
“The whistles won’t affect him, he’s a mature player. I think the fans shouldn’t whistle him because he’s a decisive player, and when he scores goals, he’ll be applauded.
“Draws because we’re too defensive? It depends on tiredness. When we drop deep, we’re very complicated to face.
“It’s true that Villarreal and Barca have drawn with us, but we’ve always been complicated to face. We know the mistakes we’ve made and we’re working to correct them.
“The Derbi, despite picking up only one point, shows us the way forward. We still tried pressing high, even when we were tired.
“We have to keep working on our finishing, but we know that the only way we can go through in the Champions League is to win both games.”