Diego Simeone responds to whether Atletico Madrid defenced can be improved through coaching

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has blamed their effectiveness in front of goal for their Champions League exit at the hands of Borussia Dortmund. In his mind, their inability to take chances across both legs was their downfall, more so than their defensive woes.

Los Rojiblancos came into the second leg as favourites, having dominated the first leg until the final 15 minutes, when Borussia Dortmund came roaring back into tie. However their second leg performance very much saw them restricted to a short period dominance.

“In both games, the goal situations we had, ours were better. Not to mention in the first leg, where the advantage could have been greater. In this match we had the first very important one with Morata. In the second half the team started very well, they had chances, we had Angel’s. They did not have that clear of an opportunity, but they were effective. There were four goals. We couldn’t have the effectiveness, that if we had, we would have won 6-4. In the first game we had the chance to win with more of an advantage. And this time if the goddess fortune had been on our side, the result would have been different.”

Simeone also admitted that most of Dortmund’s dominance came from their right side, as Nahuel Molina came in for heavy criticsm. The German side scored their first two goals down the left side.

“The first half was controlled on the left side, less in the right. They attacked us quite a bit there; The counter was very important and the important passages were counters. The 3-0 that Lino did not achieve, at the start having scored 0-1, Angel’s before the 2-1… When we went 2-2 they scored the first, very good goal, in that same area where they had hurt us . The 4-2 score came accordingly and distanced us from the result.”

Many Atletico Madrid fans are calling for the defence to be rebuilt in the transfer market this summer, something Atletico are reportedly planning. Simeone was asked whether better solidity at the back could be coached.

“It’s hard. They are characteristics of more and less effectiveness. That’s why there are statistics, one gets 80% right, another 40%… It’s part of football. Improve? Yes, it is possible, but it is part of the natural essence of each player, both in defence and attack. Statistics make a difference.”

His answer was a long way from definitive. Los Colchoneros are set to bring in a new head of scouting this summer in Juanan Perez, but looking at their options in central defence currently, only Mario Hermoso cost a significant fee five years ago, and he is likely to leave on a free this summer.

Tags Atletico Madrid Borussia Dortmund Champions League Diego Simeone
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