Atlético Madrid beat Red Bull Salzburg 3-2 on Tuesday night in the Champions League. It wasn’t classic Cholismo with some poor defending from the home side, but João Félix scored twice and landed his first ever match-winner since his 2019 summer move to Spain. Marcos Llorente continued his rich vein of form, too, and Atlético are off the mark in the Champions League.
Simeone was delighted with Félix’s performance and said it might have been his best game yet.
“Possibly, given the importance of the game,” he said. “He has played a lot of games at a really high level, but today he was consistent for 90 minutes.”
Simeone was unable to offer an update on Saúl, who remains out injured, but did say Kieran Trippier would continue to play despite his poor recent form.
“We believe in him,” he said. “(Šime) Vrsaljko’s moment will arrive. I have no doubt that Trippier will have a good season. Maybe he isn’t in his best moment, but he will keep playing.”
Félix himself said he is delighted with the performance and suggested that by playing more football will provide better results for Atlético.
“It was a great team performance,” the 20-year-old said. “We were happy with the ball, we played well, and playing like that the results will come and we will have great games.”
The Portuguese was asked if games like this helped to lift the pressure off him.
“They always ask this question,” he said. “But I always try to enjoy myself. The Champions League is where I like to play most of all, and on the field you can see that and I want to continue like that.”
Llorente, who had another fine performance, played in a different role against Salzburg.
“Depends on the game, he asks me to do one thing or another,” he said when asked what SImeone’s instructions were. “Today he asked me to play alongside (Héctor) Herrera in the middle and to join the attack when we were in a position of strength. That’s what I did, and I scored.”
“When we defended, we were in a 4-1-4-1 and when we attacked we tried to take advantage of Marcos’ arrival into the box and his strength, which he executed perfectly,” Simeone explained. “He did well but so did (Stefan) Savić, João, Koke, Herrera in his work-rate, Hermoso too is in a good moment.”
Atlético’s lost to Bayern Munich, but have now beaten RB Salzburg and sit second with three points from six. They play Lokomotiv Moscow twice in November (the 11th in Moscow and the 25th at the Wanda Metropolitano) before hosting Bayern and then travelling to Salzburg in December.