Things aren’t looking especially rosy for Atletico Madrid at the moment.
They sit in sixth place in La Liga, six points behind leaders Real and Barcelona having played a game more, plus their Champions League campaign has faltered and some fans have expressed their dissatisfaction how the season is going.
It’s enough to wonder whether this might be the endgame for Diego Simeone, who has been at the club since 2011, meaning he’s been there for nearly twice as long as the next longest-serving manager in La Liga.
“He has definitely been questioned more,” said Alvaro Romeo on this week’s European edition of the Totally Football Show. “Atletico have only won three of their last games in La Liga, in the Champions League they haven’t been able to compete with Juventus or at least get a win against them.
“And they haven’t beaten Real Madrid either: this summer the expectations were high, because they scored seven goals against Real in a friendly – a friendly, yes, but it made the supporters very enthusiastic [about their prospects].”
So what happens now?
“Atletico are in a transitional period, this is undeniable. They sold some of their most important players, some of them retired – the likes of Juanfran, Felipe Luis, Diego Godin, Gabi all left, and Diego Costa isn’t the player he was.
“They replaced them with young players who are talented but don’t have the ‘hierarchy’ that the others had. It’s a moment of reconstruction, but it doesn’t help that the player the fans are excited about watching, Joao Felix, was substituted after an hour against Barcelona: they signed him for €120million precisely to win these sort of games.
“Simeone is defensive, we know that, and he’s not going to change no matter how much money Atletico invest. He will always think about getting the results and the first substitution will always be a defensive one, or at least he’s not going to substitute a defender or defensive midfielder and put a striker in. He always thinks about keeping a clean sheet.”
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