Simeone: “The mental is going to be key”

Luis Suárez and João Félix lament after Athletic's second goal.

The game ended in San Mamés and the players rushed out to the dressing room tunnel. It did not happen, as on other occasions, that they stayed to chat in the band. Confused, the Atléticos were not for conversations of any kind after their fourth consecutive start in the League without knowing the victory (two draws and two losses, their worst streak of the course). “We are screwed. In the second half we looked for him in every way and in an isolated play they scored the goal, ”Koke confessed before the Movistar cameras. The author of the Bilbao victory goal, Iñigo Martínez, explained it like this: “I told Ibai to put it there, and I took advantage of the defense’s lack of attention to finish it off.”

Koke made no excuse for the defeat, although he regretted that Athletic managed to score in the opening minutes: “They found the goal early. Then the team got back together and went for the game ”. In the second half it was something else, but it did not reach his team even to draw: “We have not lowered the piston, but then the rival also increased the pace. They weren’t arriving, but in a corner they scored. We are going to keep fighting. There are five games left and we have to win all five. We trust ourselves, “said the outlet.

Two head butts knocked the leader down. Simeone’s team did not receive two goals in the same league duel since Stuani thus signed a double for Girona in 2017. The double header this time meant the second defeat for the colchoneros in the last five league games, just like in the previous 44 meetings.

Simeone is also aware, like Koke, that the situation of his team has changed, and that Barcelona can snatch the leadership from them this Thursday. “A few days ago they asked me what I considered most important in this League final and I am clear that the mentality is going to be key. The key to being closer to winning will be in the emotional balance ”, argued the coach. And he repeated that he was never considered a favorite for the title: “The championship is usually won by Barça or Real Madrid. Except in 2014, which we won, and another year that we were close. During much of the season we had many points of advantage, but we understood that clubs like Barcelona and Madrid were not going to get out of the title dispute. Sevilla also appeared. Whoever has more mental strength will be closer to winning, ”he reiterated.

The Argentine Atlético coach does not believe that the defeat of San Mamés will affect his players especially. “It is all very changeable. A few days ago it was not thought that we were going to play a first half like the one we play here. We do not know what we are going to find. We expect to know that we continue to depend on us [el Barcelona está en la misma situación]. It will depend on mental strength, on the personality that we can demonstrate ”. And he admitted that in San Mamés, his team wasted the first part. “If this is repeated, it is more of a problem for the coach than for the team. When a coach does not resolve that situation, something is wrong. We will try to improve ”, said Simeone.

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