Nico Gaitan hasn’t exactly set the world alight following his big money move from Benfica in the summer, and now his manager Diego Simeone is publicly calling for more consistent performances from the creative playmaker.
Gaitan was arguably the star of the show in the 6-0 Copa del Rey win over Guijuelo, creating several goal scoring opportunities as Atleti ran rampant over their lesser opponents. And after performing so well, Cholo is hoping to see more of the same from his fellow Argentinian
“It’s the first time he has played where he wants to play, from the left,” said Simeone via FourFourTwo, before adding. “We have difficult and beautiful competition for places [but], he proved that beyond his talent and speed that he has good reading of play with his peers. Hopefully he can keep up what he has shown and can respond like this whenever I call upon him to play.”
Many Atletico fans believe Gaitan has done enough to warrant more than the five starts he has received since his arrival at the Vicente Calderon, but Simeone obviously disagrees. Despite being passed fit to appear on the bench in last month’s derby defeat to Real, Gaitan was an unused sub as Atleti pushed for an equaliser for the majority of the game. It was perhaps the biggest example that all has not gone well for the 28-year-old in his debut season in Spain.
Nevertheless, as los Colcheneros have struggled in the last few weeks, Gaitan’s chance to earn himself more of a role in his manager’s plans may be coming soon. Having scored two goals already this year, in a 7-1 victory of Granada, a hip injury sidelined the attacking midfielder which greatly affected any momentum he had behind him following a couple of impressive performances.
For Gaitan, he must remain patient and aim to build on his outing in midweek, one which caught the attention of fans and coaches alike.