Simeone warns Atletico Madrid players of LaLiga's 'traps'

By Sports Desk January 03, 2021

Diego Simeone called upon his Atletico Madrid players to be "constantly prepared" going into the second half of the season and warned of the "traps" that lie in store as they aim to win their first LaLiga title since 2014.

Luis Suarez scored in the 90th minute to earn Simeone's men a 2-1 victory over Deportivo Alaves on Sunday, extending their domestic winning streak to four matches and moving them two points clear of nearest rivals Real Madrid, who have played two games more.

Asked to assess his side's performance after 15 games of the season, Simeone said he expects the challenge of staying at the top of the table to be one of increasing difficulty.

"We understand that the league is complex," Simeone told reporters. "It is difficult, it has traps, you have to be constantly prepared.

"You cannot leave room to relax, because all the teams want to win. We are going to start the second round shortly and it will not be with the same calm that one perhaps plays the first round.

"The second round will be tougher, with the teams that want to save themselves and those that want to fight to enter the Europa League and the Champions League. It alerts us to the fact that the only way to play is match-by-match."

Suarez provided the assist for Atletico's opener, scored by Marcos Llorente, and the visitors were given a further boost when Victor Laguardia was sent-off after 63 minutes.

But Alaves levelled the match six minutes from time when Felipe put into his own net, only for Suarez to come up with a late winner.

Simeone expressed his satisfaction with the way his side ended the game, picking out second-half substitutes Saul Niguez and Joao Felix for praise.

"The most beautiful thing about tonight was how the game ended," said Simeone. "Not getting nervous, looking to play together.

"And the goal was a great goal, a very good play by Saul with [Thomas] Lemar and Joao, defining the nine where it should be.

"I understood that the game lasts 90 minutes and having important players also waiting for what might happen is a useful strategy.

"Obviously, Joao came on and played very well and that is what makes me happy, same as Saul - he entered very well and that makes me very happy too.

"I'm very happy for a victory that we worked very hard for."

Related items

  • A-League: Macarthur top after Glory beat 10-man Victory A-League: Macarthur top after Glory beat 10-man Victory

    Antonee Burke-Gilroy scored his first A-League goal and created another as Perth Glory beat 10-man Melbourne Victory 3-0 to leave Macarthur top of the table.

    Victory went into Sunday's clash at AAMI Park on a high from winning their opening two games of the season, but they were brought back down to earth by Perth.

    Rai Marchan was shown a straight red card for catching Bruno Fornaroli with a high boot following a VAR check and Glory capitalised to claim their first win of the campaign.

    New signing Burke-Gilroy opened the scoring with a sweet left-foot strike from outside the penalty area after 66 minutes, before whipping in a cross for Ciaran Bramwell to nod beyond Ivan Kelava.

    Captain Fornaroli rifled in a third with his right foot from 20 yards out in the closing stages as Perth ended a run of six matches without an A-League win.

    Macarthur rose to the summit courtesy of an own goal from Central Coast Mariners captain Oliver Bozanic on the stroke of half-time.

    Ulises Davila's strike deflected off Bozanic and in for the only goal of the game to give Macarthur a first regular-season win over the Mariners at Panthers Stadium, where Central Coast goalkeeper Yaren Sozer was forced off with a suspected torn hamstring.

  • Marsch leaves RB Leipzig after third consecutive Bundesliga defeat Marsch leaves RB Leipzig after third consecutive Bundesliga defeat

    RB Leipzig head coach Jesse Marsch has left the club my mutual consent following Friday's 2-1 loss at Union Berlin, their third straight Bundesliga defeat. 

    Marsch arrived from Salzburg as the successor to Julian Nagelsmann, who left for Bayern Munich, but has overseen a series of disappointing results, with the loss to Union and Saturday's results leaving them 11th in the table. 

    Leipzig have already been eliminated from the Champions League and could yet miss out on a spot in the Europa League too as they sit level with Club Brugge on four points in Group A. 

    Marsch has struggled to combine a high-intensity press with a solid defence, with the departure of France international centre-back Dayot Upamecano clearly still hurting the team. 

    Only Cologne (8.6) have a better PPDA than Leipzig (8.6) in the Bundesliga this season – a measure of the number of opposition passes allowed before a defensive action – while the Red Bulls lead the league in high turnovers (159) and shot-ending high turnovers (26), though they have been unable to score from any of them. 

    However, the defence has been Leipzig's downfall. They have already committed six errors leading to shots in the Bundesliga (an increase of one from the entirety of last season) and three of those have ended in goals. None of their mistakes directly resulted in goals conceded under Nagelsmann in 2020-21. 

    Leipzig have conceded 18 goals in the top flight but have an expected goals (xG) against of 23.6. Their xG against in the 2020-21 top-flight campaign was 29.6. 

    Leipzig entertain Manchester City in the Champions League on Tuesday and face Borussia Monchengladbach, Augsburg and Arminia Bielefeld in the Bundesliga before the mid-season break. 

  • Rumour Has It: Rangnick identifies first Man Utd signing, Mourinho's Roma job in danger Rumour Has It: Rangnick identifies first Man Utd signing, Mourinho's Roma job in danger

    Ralf Rangnick has been tasked with restoring the fortunes of struggling Premier League giants Manchester United.

    His previous work at RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga has sparked speculation regarding possible transfers.

    That has led to talk regarding Amadou Haidara.

     

    TOP STORY – HAIDARA WANTED AT OLD TRAFFORD

    Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick wants to make RB Leipzig midfielder Amadou Haidara his first signing, according to The Sun.

    Rangnick has been appointed until the end of the season and talk of January incomings have already emerged.

    The German brought Haidara to Leipzig during his time at the Bundesliga club and he is believed to be interested in reuniting with the 23-year-old star.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - Staying at Old Trafford and El Nacional reports United want Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, having rebuffed a proposal for Philippe Coutinho.

    - Portuguese journalist Pedro Almeida claims Jose Mourinho's job as Roma head coach is in danger following another defeat, this time 3-0 to former club Inter in Serie A on Saturday. Mourinho has cut a frustrated figure amid just three wins in nine league games. Mourinho has also been linked with Everton as pressure mounts on Rafael Benitez.

    Chelsea and Arsenal are both interested in Paris Saint-Germain forward Mauro Icardi, says Ekrem Konur. The Argentina international has been linked with Barca, Newcastle United, Tottenham and Juventus.

    - According to The Sun, Ligue 1 giants PSG are lining up a bid for Wolves' left-back star Rayan Ait-Nouri.

    - Widespread reports claim Leipzig are seriously considering the sacking of head coach Jesse Marsch, who only replaced Julian Nagelsmann at the start of the season. Leipzig have lost three consecutive Bundesliga games for the first time in their history.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.