Diego Simeone was frustrated after a tough 1-0 derby loss to Real Madrid, but the coach did point to the good first half performance that Los Colchoneros turned in.
“We had a good first half with dangerous chances,” he insisted in his post-match press conference. “We showed personality. We won the ball back well and had nice offensive combinations. We started the second half well too. Then, at the end, we tried with pride to get the draw.”
Álvaro Morata’s substitution at the beginning of the second half changed the dynamic of the match and Simeone confirmed that this substitution was not a tactical one.
“Morata came off because he had a significant blow to his leg,” the coach said. “So I decided that he should come off because of that.”
The substitutes who came on in the second half were Thomas Lemar, Yannick Carrasco and Sergio Camello, and Simeone discussed each of them individually, including some criticism of the Frenchman.
“Lemar came on and couldn’t respond to the game in the way we needed,” he said. “Carrasco came on after not playing for a while and we have to manage him little by little to bring him back into the fold. As for Camello, he’s a technical player who we thought could come on and hold the ball up.”
The first half penalty incident came up too, and Simeone remained vague when asked if he thought there should have been a spot kick for Casemiro’s challenge on Morata. His response when asked was the following:
“There’s VAR, the referee is there, the fourth official is there, there’s the linesmen too. They didn’t see it.”
It was also put to Simeone that Atlético Madrid’s chances of finishing in the top four have taken a hit, and he was asked if he was concerned.
“Of course, we’re worried,” he said. “We’re going to work to change the situation. We have many injuries, but little by little people will return.”