The seven years he has been on the bench of Atlético have been a constant struggle Diego Pablo Simeone for the defense of a way to understand the game. A model that does not privilege possession, but rather the defense of spaces and vertical attack. It's the football you feel, the way you spoke to end of the overwhelming and comforting victory against Borussia Dortmund (2-0) in the Champions League. In his training he predominates more "he plays upwards", than "calm and moves" for a more elaborate attack. In the longer sessions of work with the ball, the small-field games, the long circulations hardly exist. They are pachangas played at a dizzying pace in which it is about refining the mixture of precision with high revolutions. The objective is kill in a few touches after a recovery close to the rival area, Saul's 1-0, or to mount a counter that stretches the team when defending in low block, the 2-0 of Griezmann. Those two actions with which the Atlético culminated his best performance of the course captured the perfect match of Simeone. Two goals in favor, 16 shots, the goal to zero and not a single intervention of merit Oblak, only disturbed by a header that Guerreiro sent over the crossbar. All with only 31% of possession.
With the 4-0 of the first leg still raw, questioned the ability of the team to defend the scoreboard when it is put in advantage and beaten by the low marks of Godín, Savic, Koke, Lemar and Costa, the sober match against the leader Undefeated Bundesliga has reinforced the message sent by Simeone to his players. That the team grows with the ball when defensively perceives that it has the opponent annulled and that there was no need to play a game thinking about a rematch of the bulging marker fitted in Germany. "It's what the mister wanted, playing the game like that, we got 1-0 and then we saw an Atlético difficult to score," admitted Antoine Griezmann.
The preparation of the shock was aimed at preventing Reus from finding spaces behind Rodrigo's back and preventing Dortmund from progressing through the wings when he tried to start his attacks there. Juanfran and Filipe had orders to chase to the center of the field and not let turn to Jadon Sancho and Pulisic. Saul and Correa were to be the first obstacles of Pischzek and Achraf. With that defensive plan, plus the high pressure in throw-ins near the Bürki area or when Dortmund relied on their goalkeeper to start the game, Simeone reduced the team to nothingness that 15 days before had given him his biggest defeat as Atletico coach. "We have studied them better and made a more complete match," said midfielder Rodrigo, who is starting to hang for his coach the undisputed label with four consecutive games playing the 90 minutes. His performance, as the main initiator of the game, confirmed that Thomas and Saul weigh more in attack the games, the less they intervene in the initiation phase and more they do it appearing in the second line.
Perfectly interpreted the defensive approach, it was the precision in the pass that validated Simeone's proposal. There are few games in which Atlético does not perform well the reduction of the virtues of the opponents, but there are more in which accuracy fails with the ball. They are those encounters that question the style of Simeone, in which, put back, neither the defense nor the center of the field hooks with the front after recovering the ball, m or the excess of long passes of the central ones turn it into a predictable team. Matches in which the team either fails to avoid the opponent's high pressure or does not associate well. Against Dortmund, Saul, Correa, Griezmann and Thomas received good balls in the last 40 meters and gave them continuity. Only the finesse in the pass, makes attractive, as well as winning, the path chosen by Simeone, drawn from the defensive sophistication. If we have to choose a match model for Cholo, on Tuesday he fulfilled all his demands: "We have to follow a path and they will not confuse us: lock us up and then attack well, press, be strong … What we do from years ago. "
The epidemic of muscular injuries affecting Atlético de Madrid is taking its toll on the defensive axis. In the last few weeks the four power plants have lost ground for this reason. Lucas has been the last one after having confirmed a breakage of fibers in the adductor of his right leg. Giménez already had to be substituted in the break of the game against Dortmund due to muscular problems and neither Godín nor Savic were called to this game for the same reason.
Of the four central, Godín was the only one who trained on the morning of Wednesday, so everything seems to indicate that he could form a partnership with the youthful Montero in the duel on Saturday against Athletic.