Atlético Madrid’s crisis will deepen further if the Rojiblancos fail to beat city rivals Getafe on Saturday night.
Atlético (10-6-6, 36 points) were drilled at Barcelona last Sunday and are clearly feeling the pressure as the top four fight intensifies. The club published a two-minute video on Thursday titled “The Captain’s Word,” in which Koke acknowledged the difficult moment and preached togetherness with a key stretch of games starting this weekend.
“The team is strong, wants to play, change the situation and win games,” Atlético’s skipper said. “The other day we left (Camp Nou) hurt because we hoped and wanted to win the game against Barcelona, a direct rival in our battle for the Champions League positions, but we must move forward.”
Getafe (6-7-10, 25 points) are a team transformed since former Atlético boss Quique Sánchez Flores stepped in for Míchel. Over the past 10 games, Getafe have conceded only four goals and lost once, to second-place Sevilla. Accordingly, the Azulones have risen to 15th in the table. If not for Carles Aleñá’s red card in September, they might already have secured a win over the reigning champions this season.
Diego Simeone’s record against Getafe in LaLiga since 2012 is astounding — 16 wins, two draws, and zero defeats. Atlético have scored 33 goals and conceded only one over those 18 previous meetings. A clean sheet at the Metropolitano on Saturday would be Atleti’s first in any competition since Jan. 6.
But Atlético are in for a battle against QSF’s in-form side, as injuries and illness continue to decimate Cholo’s team. Marcos Llorente is expected to return from his latest muscular injury, but he will be playing right-back as Daniel Wass is recovering from a strained knee ligament. Antoine Griezmann is still unavailable. José Giménez tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday and will miss this game as well — Atleti have a goal difference of 0 without Giménez in the team.
“We are our own critics, obviously when we don’t win games and the results do not follow there are things to improve,” Koke said Thursday. “We are the first who want to change the situation. The only way to do it is to start winning games, being strong where we have to be on the pitch, and surely we will do it.”
Date Feb. 12, 2022
Location Estadio Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid
Kickoff time 9:00 p.m. CET, 8:00 p.m. GMT, 3:00 p.m. EST, 12:00 p.m. PST