The identity debate is something that occurs frequently in Spanish football and while normally it is Barcelona under the microscope, it has been a recurring question at Atletico Madrid in recent years too.
Los Colchoneros built their success on a solid defensive base, inspired by Diego Simeone’s tough approach. However in recent years, as the team has entered a new cycle, the Simeone has been unable to call on a solid defensive base.
“The thing is, before he had many players of that profile which was perfect. But now, they have given him many players of quality that encourages you to say ‘I have to attack more’. You have [Marcos] Llorente, [Angel] Correa, [Yannick] Carrasco, Joao [Felix], [Antoine] Griezmann… and sometimes you forget that before you had a strong defensive mentality with Juanfran, [Diego] Godin, Miranda, [Stefan] Savic, Gabi…”
“With that team, they attacked two or three times a match, but they scored against you. Now, they attack more, but they don’t score as many goals, and they attack you [Atleti] on the counter more. But, due to the quality of the squad, they are still a candidate for every competition.”
It seems an accurate summary of the situation from Suarez and shows that it is perhaps something that the technical staff are conscious of within the club. Currently, they still look to be in a halfway house between two ideas, as balance eludes Simeone.
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