Atlético were 3-1 down at half-time and conceded again shortly after, as Barcelona put in the best performance of the nascent Xavi era in a 4-2 win.
“We wait until we are losing before we start to play,” Stefan Savić said after the game. “I don’t know if it’s something in our heads, but we have to change it if we want to play in the Champions League.”
Savic was referring to the late reaction from Cholo Simeone’s side. Dani Alves saw red after a nasty challenge on Yannick Carrasco on 68 minutes, but even before that, Atlético had started to show some signs of life. Luis Suárez had headed some hope into Atlético’s comeback, and they were pressing high with some success.
“The fourth goal woke us up and provoked a reaction from us,” Simeone said after the game. “It was aggressive and forceful. The same that happened against Valencia, I’m the one who is responsible for bringing out that rebellious side of them more often.
“We haven’t changed many players aside from (Kieran) Trippier, who unfortunately left,” he said. “Today, (José) Giménez and Savić played and we still let in four. You just have to keep working. We will look ahead to this week and tighten things up until the end.”