For weeks, Diego Pablo Simeone had been airing his satisfaction at the awakening of players who last season spent more time on the bench than on the grass. In the eleven that he arranged on Saturday to face Barcelona, not a single of the additions made for this season was counted. Neither Luis Suárez nor Lucas Torreira (both with covid) nor Geoffrey Kondogbia appeared. “The group is very good, I have been saying it for a long time. When there is a communion between the idea and the execution, the most beautiful thing appears, which is to give everything for the team. We see it in players like Hermoso or Herrera, who played less last year ”, explained Simeone. Their lineup on Saturday was a mixture of those marginal players a year ago and those who have raised their level significantly this year. “We are working better in the field, we are being more complicit to share what the team needs. We need everyone, Felipe, who played much more continuously last season, Lodi, who will surely be important, Kondogbia enters little by little, Saúl is taking the best form, Correa is showing extraordinary growth, not to mention João Felix or Costa’s enthusiasm when he entered ”, defended Simeone.
Mario Hermoso and Koke are the great exponents of the two cases that have gone from secrecy to prominence or of those that now offer a remarkable performance. The two exemplify the resurrection of assets that have hung the title candidate poster for Atlético in these first steps of the campaign. Hermoso played with the point of confidence that encourages him to risk with the ball, even an arabesque, as he did at the beginning of the play of Carrasco’s goal. This summer, the center-back was in the market and Real seriously considered his signing. Desolate by his prolonged inactivity, he thought of an exit that would allow him to get back on the team train with a view to the European Championship. Two months later, his state of form and his benefits are the cause of the drawing with three centrals, either in a line of four or five defenders, with which Simeone tries to compensate for the battery of offensive players he lines up and the longer time he has. the team passes in the opposite field. “The players knew how to understand what was convenient for us, to place ourselves in both facets, offense and defense. We seek to have a more solid structure with Hermoso, Giménez and Savic. That way we had the possibility to defend well and to attack as we wanted ”, Simeone added. With Hermoso’s left foot in such a fine state, Atlético has a clean ball exit with which he sometimes even breaks lines. Before the play of the goal, he had already given continuity with a vertical and low pass to the attack that Llorente crashed into the crossbar.
Due to the condition of the loss of Herrera, the rival and the significance of the game, Koke’s was a monumental match with the ball. If with the selection against Germany he already corroborated the reason for his return, against Barcelona he was imperial. Without the Mexican, who had won the title by personality and criteria to play short and long, Koke registered 67 good passes out of 72 and six recoveries. No player on the squad seems to enjoy the ambition the team now plays with more. He has not lowered the kilometers he travels, almost 13 against Barça, but where before a heavy footballer was seen in the race and stuck with the ball, now one has emerged that buries the machine to lose balls that was in his worst moments of previous courses.
The captain, who has long defended that the team was working to play better, was in charge of spreading the message sent by Simeone at halftime. With Carrasco’s goal on the intermission time, Simeone insisted on the need to return to the game by submitting Barcelona. El Cholo played with the state of euphoria of his players for going to the booth with the scoreboard ahead and with the blow that Carrasco’s goal meant for Barcelona. This time there was no blatant backlash. This is another of the great facets that explain a wardrobe convinced and happy for the idea that they are now trying to capture.
Digsmak is a news publisher with over 12 years of reporting experiance; and have published in many industry leading publications and news sites.