Since Atlético feels the encouragement of Real Madrid and Barcelona, Diego Pablo Simeone has been trying for weeks to get his team to activate in final mode. In training he has been heard harangues such as “if I want to be a champion, nothing hurts to suffer” and he also proclaims, inwardly and outwardly, that “now more than ever match by match”. The emotional sting with which he tries to inoculate the squad with a competitiveness commensurate with the challenge have been added banners from the fans in the training fields of the type “against everything and against everyone, go ahead champion” or “whoever does not believe that does not come ”. Meanwhile, the team game does not finish appearing.
Without the possibility of working as a choreographer before the fans, Simeone tries to touch the competitive fiber of a group with hypertension every day due to the possibility of losing a League that in February still had it well on track. So far, all that identity paraphernalia has barely paid off. Neither in the football that the team displays nor in the results. This Sunday (16.15, Movistar LaLiga) Atlético host Eibar, last classified. Not adding the three points would be the kind of misstep that even at this point in the season already questions the merits of a team to be champion.
Mendilibar’s style, high pressure and vertical play on the wings always tends to cause problems for Atlético, which, as in the first steps of the course, has been weak on the wings. For the right flank Simeone must choose between precipitating the presence of Trippier, even with discomfort from a blow to the lumbar, or Vrasljko. On the left, Lodi and Hermoso compete and pose another choice to the coach about whether to play with a defense of four with the Brazilian or insist on the line of three centrals with Carrasco as the lane.
Penalized, among other causes, for the lack of goal and injured Luis Suárez and João Félix, Simeone recovers Marcos Llorente for the cause after serving a sanction. In the tests he has carried out, he has located the team’s second top scorer as Correa’s partner. Again, as against Betis, Cholo is forced to play without a pure forward of reference. On the bench will be Dembélé, who already has authorization from the medical services to play after the blackout he suffered in training two weeks ago. Monitoring his efforts in his daily work and in his day-to-day life outside of football has revealed no anomalies. The French striker has trained with the group since the beginning of the week, but the intensity went from low to high so he is scheduled to play for about 20 minutes.
For the center of the field, Simeone, in his search to improve the team with the ball, keeps Herrera as Koke’s partner and will grant Saúl another opportunity in a game that together with Huesca, on Thursday and also at home, it must serve to maintain the leadership and wait for Madrid or Barça to get lost. After these two clashes, Atlético has three consecutive starts (Athletic, Elche and Barcelona) in which they will maintain or bury their chances of proclaiming themselves champion.
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