Simeone confident of Atletico Madrid response in Champions League

By Sports Desk December 04, 2021

Diego Simeone has backed his players to respond to a shock LaLiga defeat to Real Mallorca against Porto in the Champions League next week.

Atleti are in fourth spot in LaLiga – seven points behind leaders Real Madrid – after the 2-1 loss at the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday.

It was their first defeat on home turf against Mallorca since April 2006 and against a side who were winless in their previous seven LaLiga games.

Atletico also lost a LaLiga match at home after scoring the first goal of the game for the first time since a 2-1 loss to Barcelona in September 2015.

Atleti's attention will now switch to their final fixture in Group B against Porto on Tuesday where anything other than victory will see them exit the competition.

Simeone claimed the prospect of that fixture did not distract his side against Mallorca, and is confident this result will motivate his players in Porto.

"I have no doubt that surely this type of blows generates a reaction and we hope to find it on Tuesday," he told a news conference.

"I absolutely don't think [it distracted the players]. Specific situations couldn't be controlled. Two shots, two goals is what happened."

Matheus Cunha had put Atletico ahead but Franco Russo equalised before Takefusa Kubo, on loan from Atleti's rivals Real Madrid, slotted home in injury time.

Russo's header for Mallorca's equaliser was the ninth goal Atleti have conceded from a set-piece in LaLiga season and only Cadiz (11) have given away more which Simeone acknowledged was a worry.

He said: "We are concerned, we are concerned and we seek to work on it. We hope to find better results in the next matches.

"It is difficult to explain situations sometimes. There are moments when things flow and moments that are more difficult.

"We are going through a moment of this type. It is a difficult moment, but I trust the squad. The best thing is to have close matches to see if we can reverse the situation."

Atleti midfielder Koke believes the club's squad have enough wise, experienced heads to know how to recover quickly from the setback.

"We have to analyse it and improve many things. When we look at it coldly, we'll see what we have to improve," he added.

"We are older and we have the personality and character and we are international players who have lived through difficult times. We know that with work and more work we will get ahead."

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