For the second time in a week, Atlético Madrid had to battle back from a two-goal deficit to draw level at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano. While Liverpool emerged victorious, Real Sociedad were forced to settle for a point. Having gone behind in seven of 12 games played this season, the trend is becoming a cause for concern.
Ángel Correa, one of five substitutes brought on to try to turn Sunday’s game around, expressed his worry regarding the situation.
“I think that we have to improve on it. We keep having to go behind to react, we need to correct that urgently,” Correa said. “We have to highlight the effort of the team to have a go, to turn the result around. In the second half I think we did a lot to earn the three points.”
Diego Simeone had previously shown concerns in his pre-match press conference when he said, “we’ve started a lot of games going behind. On one hand, it shows we can create a response. But it worries me that we don’t start strongly and take control.”
Following the match, he had to address the topic again.
“It’s difficult to explain,” Simeone said. “Our preparations are good, the players are excited, concentrated, enthusiastic to manage the game in the best way possible. With a mistake, they punish us at the first opportunity. Then it’s quite complicated to stay as calm as we’d like and as we usually do.
“The team has a lot to be able to respond in this way. We end up with the feeling that we were more likely to win than to lose. We have to try to be stronger at the start of games.”
A game that could’ve been won
Simeone wasn’t the only one left feeling that three points were there for the taking at the Wanda Metropolitano.
“I don’t have the statistics, but I think it’s the game in which we’ve created the most chances,” João Félix said. “We have to work on our finishing.”
Félix, who produced a promising display, remains without a goal in 2021/22, played alongside Luis Suárez and Antoine Griezmann together for the first time.
“The evolution of it will be a consequence of the balance they have. João, Griezmann and Suárez are all very good. We’ll try to find the tools to balance it,” Simeone explained.
“As time goes by we get to know each other better, our movements, each one occupies their space,” Suárez added.
Atlético came into the tie with only one clean sheet from their last five and conceded two goals on home turf for the second time in six days. For a side so renowned for their defensive expertise, it’s becoming a concern for the coach.
“Yes, I’m worried and I have to try to fix it,” Simeone said bluntly. “We score goals. With Griezmann, Suárez...the team has goals.
“We need balance.”
One of those to take his fair share of the blame was Felipe, who started alongside Mario Hermoso as a central defensive pairing in a four-man defence. But Simeone stuck by his man.
“I think Felipe was fantastic,” Simeone responded when asked about his performance. “He’s been the best defender we have for the last three games.”
Praise for Real Sociedad
LaLiga’s leaders Real Sociedad were no pushovers in this tie, though. Forwards Alexander Isak and Alexander Sørloth disrupted the Atlético defensive line, as players admitted.
“We have to be aware that our rivals have strengths. They played with a formation that surprised us a bit,” Suárez confessed.
“I have to congratulate the players. Playing like that, after doing it on Thursday in Austria and against a team with the tremendous merit that Atlético Madrid has,” La Real coach Imañol Alguacil said as he spoke to the media. “I’m very happy with how we adapted to the game, matching a very powerful rival who drops very few points at home.”