The red and white aftermath: Week 31

It only took 10 minutes for Atlético to kiss Champions League hopes goodbye Sunday

simeone furious at his team's atrocious start in levante

Simeone shouts out instructions to his players
(colchonero.com)

Atlético never recovered from their atrocious start against Levante.

Faster than it takes Godín and Miranda to run five yards, Atleti were already at a disadvantage.

We immediately knew what was in store for us after one minute of action on Sunday and, though it really came as no surprise, Koné’s goal in the 10th minute still felt like another sock in the stomach, leaving the red and white faithful dazed and confused and feeling short of breath.

As hard as it is to believe, our start at the Ciutat de València wasn’t even our worst of the season. When we visited Espanyol back in December we crumbled even more quickly, going down 2-0 after only seven minutes. At least in that match we showed some signs of life, pulling back two goals through Falcao and Arda–though we ended up losing 4-2.

But in this clash we failed to score for the 12th time in the current La Liga campaign, a statistic that normally isn’t associated with a team contending for a Champions League berth.

In the same way that it was just like Atleti to return to Spain from their European glory only to humiliate themselves in domestic competition, it would be just like Atleti to follow up on this disastrous performance with an epic one in Wednesdays’s derby.

Unfortunately, it would also be just like Atleti to lose to their bitter rivals, who they have been unable to defeat in their last 22 tries.

We have a couple of factors in our favour coming into this huge midweek encounter though.

Firstly, our crosstown foes will certainly be feeling the pressure after falling short at the Bernabéu this weekend, tying 0-0 against visitors Valencia. The Merengues’ rare slip up left Barcelona trailing them by four points, with the Blaugrana closing up what once was a 10-point gap in the Primera División title-race.

Secondly, we’ll be playing on home ground, where we have largely dominated this year (9W, 4D, 2L). You can bet on a lively atmosphere at the Vicente Calderón, which will be throbbing and packed to the rafters with supporters who will have already forgiven Simeone’s men for their latest stumble.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there’s the Cholo factor. Could it be that Simeone was saving up his magic Cholo-dust on Easter to use his entire collection of it on Real Madrid in order to further cement his legendary status in the Rojiblanco record books?

Post-game notes and quotes:

Simeone shoulders the blame for the loss
“The players have not disappointed me in any way, totally to the contrary,” Simeone said in the post-game press conference.

“I hold myself responsible for the first 10 minutes because surely I didn’t hit the right key for them to respond well. Later, the team improved and the second half was good for playing in the opponents’ territory.”

‘El Cholo’ reiterated his complaints with regard to the noon-scheduling of the match in spite of the squad having played in Germany as recently as Thursday.

“There are no excuses, but there are realities,” he said.

“The only thing we can do now is focus on the next encounter.”

The Argentine tactician has not ruled out the possibility of qualifying for Champions League play for next season.

“We hope to still have a chance and fight for the possibility the last five match days.”

Asked why the club’s leading scorer Radamel Falcao did not appear in the fold, Simeone responded that ‘El Tigre’ “had a cold”.

“We spoke to him [Saturday], because he didn’t train,” he said.

“We asked him today. He wasn’t at 100 per cent and we mutually agreed to use him towards the end if necessary and play with Salvio, who was more fresh.

“But the first 10 minutes were going to be the same with or without Falcao,” Cholo concluded.

Filipe has hopes of putting an end to Real Madrid’s over-a-decade-long unbeaten streak against us
Left back Filipe Luís, a former Real Madrid-reserve squad player, assures it will be very difficult to end the 13-year ‘white-spell’ our neighbours have cast upon us.

“It wasn’t possible to take points [today] and now all we can do is focus on the next match, the derby against Real Madrid,” he said.

“We have to respect them because they are the leaders, they lead us by more than 30 points, they are one of the best Real Madrid sides in history, but we are playing before our supporters and will try to get the victory.

“It will be very difficult, but we are not in lack of hope. It’s clear that we all dream of ending this long stretch of so many years of not beating Madrid.”

Injury round-up:

No injuries were reported after this game.

Though Falcao did not train with the rest of his team-mates following the club’s return from Germany, we know a cold is not going to keep our killer feline out of his first Madrid Derby.

Other notes:

  • Eduardo Salvio (5th yellow), Mario Suárez (10th yellow) and Miranda (red card) will all be unavailable against Real Madrid through suspension.
  • José Mourinho’s men, with 100 goals, have scored 58 more times than us in La Liga this year. Fifty. Eight. More. Times.

  • Come on team move from the match versus Levante. We are going to try to end this horrid run against our city rivals. I have hope that we can win but in a football match everything’s unpredictable and let us dont get a RED card because we lost because of that last time to REAL MADRID. We would’ve gotten something from the last derby perhaps a point but we cant turn back as I said before. Looking forward to the next match!!! Come on kick their @$$*$

    Aupa Atleti!!

  • Javi Lozoya

    Seems Magath wants Diego back at Wolfsburg. He says he has revalued himself after the match against Hannover.
    It also seems Diego is not gonna stay for next season because Gil Marin and the board won’t pay his transfer fee nor his 5M wages.
    Bad news if this is true and Diego doesn’t stay at Atleti. I guess the board is gonna try to sign Valero instead. Anyways.
    here’s the note in Spanish: http://www.marca.com/2012/04/09/futbol/equipos/atletico/1333968533.html

  • Javi Lozoya

    Capoue once again linked to Atleti: http://www.rmcsport.fr/editorial/245421/l-atletico-madrid-accelere-sur-capoue/. Now, he is the player we really need. Great DM, with great passing skills and great tactical positioning.

  • falcao

    Atletico are close to sign Alberto Botia from Sporting Gijon and there are also rumours that Atletico is interested in River Plate striker Funes Mori,Xavi Torres and Iborra from Levante and Alvaro Vasquez from Espanyol

  • Javi Lozoya

    Sources?, Funes Mori is not good for Atleti in my opinion as well as Xavi Torres and Iborra. Well, Iborra might be, I like him but not sure if he’ll excel at Atleti. And Álvaro Vasquez is a player I like a lot. He is one of my favorites, He is very young and promising and he really has a bright future. He could become Adrian’s partner upfront and his transfer wouldn’t be expensive. Atleti could get him for 3-5M, that would be a steal. Rumor says Sevilla wants to sign Alvarito too. Hope Atleti signs him instead.

  • leika

    I bought Funes Mori in Fifa Manager 12 (for Atletico) and he turned out to be a really good striker. BUT it’s ONLY A GAME. Capoue could be a smash yes. Like him a lot. Dominguez-Botia partnership would be something to look forward to. And it seems that Salvio, thanks to his latest efforts, is going to stay with us. If Diego leaves we need a replacement playmaker, cause Koke is still inconsistent. And we’d also need a back up for left back and striker position. On a whole we just need more players and really have to look for bargains. Remember, we got Adrian for free 😉

  • leika

    And I forgot to mention that we have loads of players out on loan, so they can be useful as well.

  • Javi Lozoya

    Christian Fuchs, or Guilherme Siqueira as left backs (Siqueira has been linked to Atleti) and Alvarito or Diego Costa as strikers. As I said, we could sign Alvaro for as little as 3-5M, a bargain really.

  • falcao

    According to Todomercado web atletico is interested in German Denis of Atalanta

  • falcao

    FICHAJES.COM,
    JAVI

  • palc

    I don’t care for that Alvaro dude. He seems like an asshole. Not sure of his qualities as a footballer either, but he acts like he’s Ronaldo in the games Ive seen him play. So selfish and shouts at his teammates when not given the ball. He can f**k off.
    I would bring back Diego Costa for sure. That Capoue guy and renew A. Lo’s contract. Antonio Lopez that is. Were short on funds, I like A. Lo and we also have Silvio as a backup in that posistion. Dont see why we need another left back..

    And do whatever we can to keep Diego. If we can’t keep him. Id say we should switch formations to 4-4-2 and bring in a wide midfielder or something. Because only Diego can be our playmaker in tht 4-2-3-1 formation.And a 4-4-2 would be better for Adrians game.. Maybe Arda can be our new playmaker when Diego leaves because frankly Arda as a winger is terrible.

  • Javi Lozoya

    I don’t think Alvarito is as self centered as you say palc. He is a humble and hardworking guy. In a few years he is gonna become a great player without a doubt. He is only 20 with a large room of improvement and would be very cheap.

    Capoue well, I got nothing to say except he is a fucking great player. Just what we need in the midfield. Agree if we can’t keep Diego. Buy Borja Valero and switch to 4-4-2 with him and Capoue in the doble pivot, buy a new winger or play with Salvio and Arda on the sides, and Falcao and Adrian upfront.

  • Edletico

    I am actually exited about this summer with Caminero in charge, I feel he did great considering last year. He is aiming for 2 good players per position which could make for a fair few transfers. Players like Raul Garcia, Asenjo and a few others could provide little bit of money, plus the Europa league money and sponsership I don’t think we are as skint as the media portrays. Of course we have debt to pay back but that hasn’t stopped, what I’ve heard, an average of 14signings per season.

    Goalkeeper wise, I think Asenjo and Joel will leave. Courtois needs to be signed for a second season. If we get champions league for 2013/14 season I think he would sign permanently. Gil deserves to be promoted.

    Defence has been great this year in most games. Botia woukd be a solid addition as long as no other CB leaves. Casado of Vallenco should replace A Lopez and hopefully Silvio will be fit for next season.

    I don’t see what Suarez offers so would ship him to a mid table team and re purchase Camacho. Capoue is a definite, quality player for our weakest area IMO. With Assancao and Tiago leaving, Emre for free along with Diego and Valero who both should be cheap for their quality are needed. The money from Garcia, Ruben Micheal and Fran Merida could help finance this.

    Farfan is available for free, would be amazing for RW with Lass from Vallenco coming in as part of Costa deal, which covers both wings

    Yilmaz has a clause for 5M so should be bought in to compete with Adrian for back up.

    All cheap and realistic signings, covering all areas.

  • Javi Lozoya

    I wouldn’t have Camacho back honestly. He is not even a regular starter for Malaga an no wonder why. Toulalan has just been awesome. Atleti should sign players who are actual starters for their team and excel. I would prefer to give Ruben Perez a chance, promote Fer and buy Capoue. I would loan Mario Suarez too to Mallorca or other team or sell him. Assuncao definitely is leaving the club, he is old and hasn’t played too many minutes. Tiago needs to stay for another year. He started the season in bad fashion but since Simeone arrived he has been important. With a good training preseason he’l be in good shape for next season. Emre, no way, he can stay at Fenerbahce. Ruben Micael can stay at Zaragoza too or be sold. Merida be sold or loaned.
    Farfan is gonna be a free agent true, but there’s’ no way Atleti is gonna pay his fees. Burak Yilmaz can stay at Trapzonspor too. Prefer Diego Costa a million times better. Borja Gonzalez from Murcia should be given a chance by Cholo, if not, loan him to team where he actually gets minutes.
    And Lass from Rayo Vallecano, I don’t know. He has only played one season in Primera. Not sure if he is gonna do well at Atleti so probably is better to not sign him.

  • palc

    “I want to stay where I am and Atletico want me,” the former Brazil international revealed. “I have a special affection for this team; it’s wonderful.

    “I am committed to Atletico until June 30 and will be until that day, whatever happens.

    “After that date it will be up to the directors of Atletico and Wolfsburg. I just hope that they and I end up happy.”

  • ratchet

    diego- hopefully its true, i think he will stay

  • I’d love to see Zoran Tošić but he would be fucking expensive…and Diego to stay for sure! 🙂

  • Javi Lozoya

    It’s obvious Diego wants to stay but he knows that’s not up to him. Like I said, it’s rumored our board is not willing to pay his 15M buyout clause and his wages which are 5M per season. Atleti and Wolfsburg have to come to an agreement which seems unlikely.

  • starvs

    Would be very short sided to not retain Diego, can’t find a better playmaker for that value. Playmaker is a fairly important role after all, as the last decade or so of Atleti can amply demonstrate…

  • POSSIBLE signings this Summer
    1. Our people who are out on loan.
    2. Burak Yilmaz(STRIKER)
    3. Diego (permanent deal)(WINGER)
    4. Casado(LEFT BACK)
    5. Lass Bangoura(ATTACKER)
    6. Alberto Botia(DEFENDER)
    7. (PROBABLY) Alvaro Vazquez(STRIKER)
    8. Thibaut Courtois (On loan)(GK)
    9. Emre(MIDFIELDER)
    10.(IF Falcao goes: Huntelaar, Edin Dzeko and Fernando Torres; STRIKERS)

    POSSIBLE people going this Summer

    1. Joel(GK)
    2. Diego(MID)
    3. Asenjo(SPARE KEEPER)
    4. Falcao(STRIKER)

    Thats what I THINK so before you criticise what I am saying this is what I THINK

    Either Asenjo or Joel will go because we will need a SPARE keeper so only one would be able to go.

  • @Derek Maaijen i am just changing my email but i am the same person so I am the Same person in the PREDICTION LEAGUE.

  • palc

    I want Maxi Rodriguez back. As a backup. Fantastic person who still got something to offer as a player.