Spain

Jan Oblak blames injuries for poor defensive displays at Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid fell to a 2-1 defeat last night against Real Madrid and although there was something of a rally after Mario Hermoso pulled a goal back, it was something of a disappointing evening all-round at the Civitas Metropolitano.

During midweek Los Colchoneros had gone down 2-0 to Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League, being opened up on the counter-attack and a similar scene played out in the Madrid derby.

Following their worst ever defensive record under Diego Simeone last season, there will be worries within the Atleti camp that they are looking at another season of unreliable defending. So far they have averaged over a goal a game conceded this season.

Speaking after the match to Diario AS, goalkeeper Jan Oblak was asked whether it was a problem down to the system or the injury issues in the Atleti defence.

“It is not just because of the names. Felipe has been out almost five months, he played his second game. Witsel has helped in defence, he is a midfielder who is doing very well. It is not because of the names but the work of the team.”

For this match, as with much of the start of the season, Stefan Savic and Jose Maria Gimenez were absent. Oblak believes it is the lack of time in training that is hurting them though.

“If you are out for a month or you don’t work with the team, then it is more of a struggle, as has happened with Felipe. On Tuesday he did well and today it was a little bit more difficult for him because he was lacking rhythm. If we are not all ready, there are injuries and you cannot work much. If they are absent, you cannot improve.”

“I hope that the [international] break serves us well to return with everyone healthy, to be together, because there are a lot of games on the way. We have to improve, we cannot allow the chances we are allowing so that the opponents can finish like that.”

Currently Atletico Madrid find themselves caught between two schools. Simeone’s tactical plans are not designed to overwhelm the opposition with pressure and possession, but neither can he rely on his defence to keep matters tight.