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“Anxious” Atlético draw another blank against Villarreal

Atlético had chances, but could not convert and dropped more points against Villarreal.

Villarreal CF v Club Atletico de Madrid - La Liga Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

It’s clear Atlético Madrid have to change something. It’s less clear what that something is.

Los Colchoneros have won just once in eight games and recorded their eighth draw in the league on Friday night, a goalless stalemate against Villarreal. They failed to score again despite a handful of good chances — Renan Lodi went closest in the second half following a perfectly-delivered João Félix cross.

“It’s obvious that when you create so many chances without converting one, anxiety appears,” Diego Simeone said after the game. “You need to calm down, work with less anxiety and more precision and the most important thing will appear.”

“In this moment, all I’m worried about is winning a game,” he said. “And after that everything will look different.”

Scoring goals might be a good place to start in turning around this situation. Atlético have registered more than one just four times this season. Simeone’s men have only scored three twice and failed to score at all in six games.

Simeone opted for Saúl and Koke on the wings with a four-man midfield at the La Cerámica, while Félix and Álvaro Morata partnered up front. That could not elicit a response in front of goal, either.

The mattress makers were more open at the back too, as Villarreal gave Jan Oblak plenty to worry about in the first half — even if most shots weren’t on target. Samuel Chukwueze slammed one over from distance and Gerard Moreno headed just wide as well.

“We need to change our mindset and keep working,” Koke said. “We’re missing some precision, fortune or I don’t know what but to win you have to score.

“We have to win,” he continued. “We’re used to winning and playing every game until the end. It’s our philosophy for the last eight years and we won’t throw it away. We need a bit more.”

“We can just get better in front of goal,” a frustrated Félix said. “They’re just phases and all phases pass. This one will, too.”

Atlético remained sixth following the 0-0 draw but could be overtaken by Getafe if they beat Eibar on Sunday. Valencia could also catch Atlético on points with a win against Levante on Saturday.