It's no secret that Atlético Madrid are in a rut - some have called it a crisis - at the moment. After starting the season on an 11-game unbeaten run, los colchoneros have lost five of the past 11 games, falling to sixth in Liga Santander thanks to some dreadful performances over that stretch. Fans want answers, assurances that Atlético can return to winning ways under Diego Simeone.
One of Simeone's top players stepped up to bat for him on Wednesday. Yannick Carrasco was interviewed by Marca’s Luis Aznar and offered a staunch defense of his manager.
“He is a winner and has made us a united team,” Carrasco said. “He is with us and we are with him.”
The winger is Atlético’s top scorer with 10 goals this season, no small feat in a team that features Antoine Griezmann and Kévin Gameiro. However, Carrasco was controversially dropped to the bench for Monday’s 3-0 loss at Villarreal, which is something he addressed in the interview.
“It is up to the coach who he decides to pick for the team,” Carrasco said. “For me, the most important thing is to work hard to ensure I get into the starting lineup.”
The 23-year-old also tried to dispel the notion of a crisis enveloping the squad and its coach, noting that the season is long and Atlético did top a difficult Champions League group.
“Everyone is talking of a crisis, but for me, there isn't a crisis,” Carrasco said. “These things happen, it is normal that these results can happen to a team who play at such a high level...in the Champions League, we finished top of a group that included Bayern Munich so we must be positive.”
When asked whether or not Atleti can catch Real Madrid atop LaLiga, the Belgian confirmed Atleti’s focus is on the top four, saying that qualifying for next year’s edition is the objective moving forward.
“For us the most important thing is qualifying for the Champions League,” Carrasco said. “That's our goal. We have to work hard every day to get back to winning games and go as far as possible in LaLiga.”