Simeone’s second zero

Nothing else in one of their 77 previous Champions League matches, Diego Simeone and his Atlético de Madrid They had emulated the offensive nullity, without a single shot between the three suits, of the nonsense of this Tuesday against the Chelsea, who directly points to the coach for his failed approach, his defensive regression and his step back at a decisive moment.

Between the absolute concern in retaining the 0-0, rather than in really promoting the victory, and the inability to put together an attack or a somewhat relevant counterattack, Atlético was left to nothing on the rival goal. Of his six attempts that the UEFA statistics collect, three ended up out and another three were blocked. Neither took the direction of the opposite frame of Edouard mendy.

Only one other time had it happened to the coach in this competition: in the debacle in Turin against the Juventus in 2018-19, also in the round of 16, in the second leg, this time as a visitor, when Cristiano Ronaldo he devoured it with a 3-0, as he also did with the 2-0 income with which Atlético came.

In none of his other 76 games in the Champions League. Not even in visits to the Santiago Bernabéu in front of the Real Madrid. Neither in the 1-0 of the 2014-15 quarterfinals (with 2 shots between the three suits of six attempts) nor in the 3-0 of the 2016-17 semifinals, when he tried four, only one in the frame .

Nor in his defeats in Munich against him Bayern. Not in the 4-0 of this course, with only one more than eight pitches; nor in the 2-1 that qualified him for the final in 2015-16, with four; nor in the 1-0 loss in the 2016-17 group stage, with three. Nor at the Camp Nou. Not even when he played with ten from the half hour for the expulsion of Fernando Torres in 2015-16. Not at Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund, when they were 4-0 in 2018-19.


There is not a single example more in the Champions League in that sense. -There are several regarding the defensive and failed plan- such as the Juventus matches in 2018-19 and this Tuesday against him Chelsea, as expressive also in other statistics, such as deliveries or conductions in the opposite field: Atlético only entered the penalty area six times, but it is that they only exceeded the third of the rival field and approached that area only twenty times .

“We understood that the game had to be played as they saw it,” he confirmed. Simeone at the post-match press conference, where he proposed a six-man defense in the retreat (from right to left Ángel Correa, Marcos Llorente, Stefan Savic, Felipe Monteiro, Mario Hermoso and Thomas Lemar), included Joao Felix in the midfield when defending and concentrated everything in his territory.

A kind of 6-3-1 – perhaps nothing according to the type of footballers he put on the field – that he only altered at the beginning with the high pressure that he exerted three times at the beginning of the clash, with a visible result: the opportunity to Thomas lemar to pass from Luis Suarez. The only one from Atlético in the entire duel. Then it declined, transformed into a minor team, blinded in the 0-0 defense above all else.

“We understood, especially me, that I managed the team as they saw it, press high in moments that they sensed that they could recover the ball and otherwise generate the defensive low block so that the team can recover, as it happened,” he added. Simeone, which only put a nuance to his idea of ​​the game: “We needed to associate better and have a little more precision from the recovery of the ball.” His team was 73 percent correct on that skill. Very low


An ultra defensive plan shot down by Chilean by Olivier giroud and for Chelsea, which proposes to the rojiblanco team the challenge of turning everything around – the scoreboard above all, but also their null ambition, their predisposition to play 0-0 and their damaged image at the Bucharest National Stadium – in the return match at Stamford Bridge scheduled for next March 17, Wednesday.

Is Atlético capable of qualifying? Yes. There are references. Also in the Champions League. In London, in the same scenario of the return match, for example, the rojiblanco team scored a good 0-0 in the first leg at Vicente Calderón with a 1-3 victory that qualified them for the final of the top continental tournament in 2013 -14.

But of his 42 matches in the era Simeone In this competition away from their stadiums (first Vicente Calderón until 2016-17 and then Wanda Metropolitano, from 2017-18 onwards), there are ten results that would be valid to qualify (not including 2-3 against Liverpool because it was in extra time after 1-0 in the 90th minute) and three would cause extra time, because they won away 0-1. That is, 29 of his foreign markers would remove him from the competition.

And, above all, in the last four years he has only managed to win four times away in the Champions League: 1-2 against Monaco, 0-2 against Lokomotiv and 0-2 to Salzburg, Besides of Liverpool. Nothing more.

These are not reasons for the optimism of Atlético, which has only won one of its last five official games (1-2 at grenade), who has conceded eleven goals in his eight most recent games, who has only scored one goal in three games and whose downward trend in Europe’s top competition is more than visible.

Since reaching the semi-finals in 2016-17, the last time he made it past the quarter-finals of the tournament, he has played 30 matches, of which he won less than half: 13. And he needs to win at Stamford Bridge.