Manchester United

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Premier League • England

Diego Simeone turns on Atletico stars after shock loss as key attacker is ruled out of Man Utd clash

Joao Felix; Renan Lodi; Matheus Cunha Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone admitted his side performed poorly in Wednesday’s 1-0 home defeat to Levante – and was also left to rue a costly injury that has seen a key player ruled out against Manchester United next week.

Atleti came into the match against bottom-placed Levante with a place in the top four up for grabs. Instead, they succumbed to a poor defeat to gift their opponents just their second win of the season. After falling behind to a 54th minute goal, Atletico though they had equalised in stoppage time only for Angel Correa’s goal to be ruled out. To make matters worse, Brazilian striker Matheus Cunha injured his knee and will miss several weeks of action.

Diego Simeone said in his post-match press conference: “We played a bad game. We lost a beautiful opportunity to move into a good situation in La Liga and we will have to make a doubt effort.

“Defeats always hurt. It will always bother and hurt me. Today I’m relaxed and tomorrow we talk for a while to say what I think and to see what they feel.

“The team were full of excitement and enthusiasm before the games. We came from a complicated win.

“We didn’t know how to take advantage of it, and now we have to make a double effort.”

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When quizzed on his side’s chances of finishing in the top four and the Champions League places, Simeone added: “You can’t tell people anything.

“On the contrary, they have been close to the team searching for a step forward. The reality is this. Many people will think that it is impossible, but I think that it is possible.

“You have to demonstrate it by doing because words are already boring. We lost a great opportunity. We have to search to go forward with humility.”

Atleti lose striker for Man Utd tie

To rub salt into Atletico Madrid’s wounds after Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat to Levante, the side lost attacker Matheus Cunha after a second-half knee injury. Simeone had started the striker ahead of Luis Suarez and Joao Felix, who were both substitutes.

The Rojiblancos host Manchester United in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League next Wednesday without their Brazilian striker.

Oblak warns Atletico Madrid teammates

Atleti goalkeeper Jan Oblak, who has struggled with his own performances this season, has issued a warning to his teammates. The shot-stopper analysed his side’s 1-0 home defeat to Levante and what it means for a top four finish.

“Any team knows how to play and if we’re not at our best we can’t win,” Oblak told Marca. “We haven’t played a good game in general.

“It’s a very difficult moment, but we all have to be better. We all have to give a lot more. to enter the Champions Leauge.

“The position we’re in is alarming. It’s not the position you have to be in at this club. Talking isn’t enough. We have to raise the level.”

On the whistling of the Atletico Madrid home fans, Oblak added: “I haven’t listened to the whistles, but I’m sure the fans aren’t happy. I ask that people trust us. Only all of us together are going to get out of this.”

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