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Diego Simeone hinted at the idea that he could leave Atlético de Madrid at the end of the season after their terrible loss in the Copa del Rey to third-division Cornella.
Simeone’s LaLiga leaders exited the Cup on Wednesday, losing 1-0 to a goal by former Atlético B defender Adrián Jiménez.
Ricard Sánchez was sent off when Atleti fell into a shock setback that the Spanish media quickly described as a “disaster” among the worst of Simeone’s 502 games in charge of the club.
The longtime coach named a strong team, including the record signing of Joao Felix, but saw his team notably unable to register a single shot on goal.
However, the failures in the Cup are already a family history, as the rojiblancos lost to Cultural Leonesa last season. Meanwhile, they have not beaten any other LaLiga team in the competition since they saw Elche in January 2017.
Simeone acknowledged that athletes are fighting in one-off knockout matches, also losing in last season’s Champions League to RB Leipzig, but added the surprising qualifier that it would be a problem to consider only if he was still in command next year.
“[Cornella] he played better, ”he said. “Throughout the game, what they wanted was always done better than what we wanted.
“They took advantage of set pieces and immediately found the goal.
“The boys tried to compete in the best way. In the first half we had more chances and in the second it was rockier. It got tough after the red card.
“This competition has not given us satisfaction in recent years, but solutions will have to be found if we are here next year.”
2 – Atlético de Madrid has been eliminated from #Copa del Rey by a third division team in consecutive seasons for the first time (2-1 vs Cultural Leonesa in 2020 and 1-0 vs UE Cornellà in 2021). Surprise. pic.twitter.com/xnAYGQ9KCf
– OptaJose (@OptaJose) January 6, 2021
Saúl Niguez, captain of the night, identified the same problem and added: “We apologize to the fans. We never throw away the competitions, but in these editions of a single game we are not doing well. “
Given Atleti’s difficulties, the decision to replace Joao Félix with 18-year-old rookie Mario Soriano with 15 minutes remaining sparked some discussion.
But the Portugal international only made one shot, which was blocked, before his retirement and was unable to create a single opportunity, unlike his replacement.
Joao Félix epitomized the visitors’ display when he completed just 13 of his 21 attempted passes and lost possession 13 times, without winning any of his three aerial duels.
The trade still seemed like a great decision, but Simeone explained that his star forward was struggling with an ankle injury.
“He was hurt,” Simeone said. “We are looking for a cooler boy. He had a bruised ankle and we wanted to find a boy in good condition. “