Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez said his team had “lacked ambition” in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Leganes, bringing a rebuke postmatch from Rojiblancos boss Diego Simeone.
Atletico seemed to be heading top of the La Liga table thanks to Antoine Griezmann’s long range free kick just after half-time, but poor marking at a set-piece allowed Leganes substitute Guido Carrillo in for a late equaliser.
Simeone’s side did not have a shot on target during a goalless first-half at Butarque, and Saul said after the final whistle that his team had not shown the ambition of potential La Liga champions.
“We know these are the grounds where league titles are won and lost,” Saul told BeIN Sports. “Leganes played a great first half, but we must be more ambitious and should have won this game.”
Asked about these comments from his player at the postmatch news conference, Simeone said Saul would see he was wrong after re-watching the 90 minutes.
“Things are said in the heat of the moment when the game has just ended,” the Argentine said. “But when [Saul] watches the game he will realise we could have won it.”
Simeone nevertheless admitted that his team had not played as planned in the first 45 minutes, and had then not shown enough desire at the late set-piece from which Leganes equalised.
“In the first half we did not play as we had planned,” he said. “In the second, we did, direct and with players looking to take advantage of mistakes in their back line.
“The second half is what we want. But we knew that Leganes had come back in big games here, and with their strength at set-pieces they got a draw.
“They competed better for that ball. We’re going to have to work during the week on errors made in the game.”