Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone said anxiety prevented his team from scoring in their goalless draw at Villarreal.

Simeone's Atletico failed to win for the third consecutive LaLiga match following Friday's stalemate away to Villarreal.

It was another toothless showing by sixth-placed Atletico, who have only scored 16 goals through as many league games this season.

"It is normal that when you generate so many chances and do not convert, anxiety appears," Simeone told reporters. "And more anxiety, less precision. 

"When anxiety disappears, tranquillity and precision will come from the players we have. Today we had clear occasions, Joao Felix and [Renan] Lodi's, but we did not define them correctly."

Atletico could end the weekend seven points adrift of third-placed Sevilla and eight behind leaders Barcelona.

"At the moment, what worries me is to win a game and everything will be looked after in a different way," Simeone said.

Atletico captain Koke added: "In front of goal we have no fortune, precision or I do not know what is missing. To win you have to score goals.

"The team defends well, gives everything, but we need to be more precise to all, the strikers, the midfielders, the defenders..."

Head coach Diego Simeone has dismissed suggestions he has lost the dressing room at Atletico Madrid.

Atleti are sixth in LaLiga after 14 matches on 25 points - six behind leaders Barcelona, who are ahead of second-placed Real Madrid on goal difference.

But Simeone played down talk he no longer has the confidence of the Atleti players following an underwhelming start to the campaign.

The 49-year-old claims such questions have been a regular feature of his tenure and was bullish at a news conference on Thursday.

"In the eight years that I have been here, it has been said that the group was not with me every year," Simeone said ahead of Friday's clash with Villarreal.

"There is always a moment of speculation. However, we move forward with patience and lots of energy.

"I don't think there has been more criticism than in other seasons.

"The responsibility I have is a lot. I assume it and share it with players, club, people who work in the dressing room.

"We all have responsibility - mine is important, I assume it and I look for solutions so that everything returns to the best situation, which is to win. When you win, everything looks much better."

Simeone acknowledged Atletico are, to some extent, in a season of transition, but it will not affect his daily approach.

He added: "The ones who think that the word 'transition' leads to sunbathing and waiting for the flowers to come out don't know me.

"I always imagine positive things, and within them, there are situations that can be improved.

"Our goal is to compete game after game. We will not change. Reality is what counts, day to day."

Having been dealt a blow by last week's defeat to Barca, Simeone has urged his players to focus on catching Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad and Sevilla - immediately above them in the table - rather than worrying about LaLiga's top two.

"We look at the one closest to us," he said. "We must always look at the one closest to us. It is the best way to approach those who are further away - first, go for those who are closest."

Diego Simeone said he is not worried about Barcelona and Real Madrid, instead concerned by Sevilla after Atletico Madrid lost further ground in LaLiga.

Atletico suffered a 1-0 defeat to Barcelona, who prevailed in Madrid thanks to Lionel Messi's stunning 86th-minute goal on Sunday.

The result left Atletico languishing in sixth, six points behind LaLiga champions Barca and Madrid, and five adrift of third-placed Sevilla.

"Barcelona and Real Madrid don't worry me," Atletico head coach Simeone told reporters. "Sevilla do, it's now five points."

Atletico looked the better of the two sides for most parts of Sunday's showdown in the Spanish capital.

However, Atletico were unable to take advantage – Simeone's side managing just 16 goals in 15 league matches this season.

It comes after an off-season of change, which saw Antoine Griezmann, Diego Godin, Rodri, Filipe Luis, Juanfran and Lucas Hernandez leave, and the likes of Joao Felix, Marcos Llorente, Mario Hermoso, Kieran Trippier and Felipe come in.

And Simeone called for patience as he said: "The team gave everything, the players are doing what the coach is asking of them.

"Change will come and, instead of hitting the post, the ball will go in. We have to stay patient and know that we're in a year of transition.

"I'm the least patient person, we have to understand the enormous change that the team has gone through, but we need time to improve.

"We're competing in all the matches we play in. I have the strength and balance to know that the league season is long."

On Atletico's lack of goals, Simeone added: "We can't argue with the numbers. We're busy trying to find solutions.

"The only way is to create chances and we did that. Joao [Felix] had rhythm, [Angel] Correa was very good.

"It's been eight years and it's the moment to push to achieve what the club are looking for."

Diego Simeone has challenged his side to be more aggressive at both ends of the pitch when Barcelona visit the Wanda Metropolitano.

While the Rojiblancos have been typically dogged at the back so far this campaign, conceding just nine goals in 14 games, they have struggled badly in front of goal.

They drew another blank in their 1-0 Champions League defeat to Juventus in midweek and are the least prolific of all bar one team among LaLiga's top 13 sides.

Simeone was happy with this team's display in Turin and wants to see a similar approach against Ernesto Valverde's side, albeit with added intensity in both penalty areas.

"We want to score more goals and be more aggressive in both penalty areas, which is where the games are resolved," he told a media conference.

"We work to compete in the best way and we want to win the match. We played well in Turin and hopefully we will do the same but with a different result."

Atleti have come in for criticism this season after winning just six of their opening 14 LaLiga games.

Simeone has pointed to a number of injuries to key players, though, and says he is broadly happy with how his side have done in the opening months of the campaign.

"I am clear about the goals for the club and what the club needs to achieve them," he added. 

"We have had to play without Stefan Savic, Jose Gimenez and Diego Costa. These are situations that one cannot imagine at the start of the season, although it can happen.

"The team is competing well and I hope I can have a game like in Turin, but with another result."

Atletico Madrid star Joao Felix has been voted the world's best under-21 player after winning the 2019 Golden Boy award, beating Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho.

Portugal international Joao Felix broke into the Benfica first-team last season and swiftly became a fixture in the side, impressing with his athleticism, ability on the ball and strong finishing skills, earning comparisons with Brazil and Milan great Kaka.

He finished the 2018-19 season with 15 Primeira Liga goals from just 21 starts and featured for Portugal in their Nations League triumph.

Joao Felix's form understandably led to transfer speculation and, although several of Europe's biggest clubs were said to be interested, Atletico got a €126million deal over the line in July as they identified him as their ideal replacement for Antoine Griezmann.

Although the attacker is yet to light up LaLiga having scored two goals and set up one more in 10 appearances, a panel of 40 journalists voted Joao Felix as the winner of the Tuttosport award, making him the first Atletico player since Sergio Aguero in 2007 to take the gong home.

Joao Felix highlighted the impact of Benfica coach Bruno Lage in his acceptance speech.

He told the Italian publication: "Thanks to Tuttosport for the Golden Boy Award 2019, I am very proud.

"It is the second time that a player from Atletico Madrid has won this award and I am happy.

"Thanks also to Benfica, in particular to coach Bruno Lage, for all he has done for me and my family."

Joao Felix received 332 voting points to take the crown, with England talent Sancho finishing runner-up with 175 marks despite arguably having a more consistent year. Kai Havertz was third with 75.

The 20-year-old award winner - who returned to action on Saturday after a month out injured - follows Matthijs de Ligt, Kylian Mbappe and compatriot Renato Sanches in being named the Golden Boy.

Diego Simeone blamed Atletico Madrid's scoring woes on wasteful finishing rather than chance creation following the Champions League loss to Juventus.

The Rojiblancos drew a blank in Turin as Paulo Dybala's stunning free-kick before half-time wrapped up a 1-0 win and top spot in Group D for the Serie A side.

Alvaro Morata squandered a good late opportunity, albeit from a seemingly offside position, while Thomas Partey and Saul Niguez missed decent chances as the visitors hit the target with two of their 15 shots.

Atletico have now been restricted to six goals in five Champions League games and are the least prolific of all bar one team among LaLiga's top 12.

Simeone said: "I think we played a good game against a really great team.

"I think we are lacking precision in the forward areas as we are generating enough dangerous situations to score goals. We worked very well tactically."

He continued: "We need to work on improving our numbers, which are bad.

"Obviously we all need to work more, have patience and do our best in order to generate more chances.

"Vitolo and Morata put in a great effort and Felipe played an extraordinary game. We improved as the game went on. In the first half we tried to be strong at the back and then play on the break.

"We did well as [Juve] hardly created chances in the first half, except the goal, and in the second half we also improved as the period went on but could not score, which is the most important thing in football."

Atletico splashed €126million on Joao Felix in the close season but have struggled to replace Antoine Griezmann's goals.

The loss of Diego Costa for up to three months with a neck injury has further depleted Simeone's attacking stocks, but the Argentine head coach would not commit to further spending in January.

"I work with the players I have," he said.

"I'm doing my best in order to make them better and I will not change that mentality. Then, we will see what decisions will be made regarding the needs the team have."

Diego Simeone labelled Cristiano Ronaldo the best player in the world but warned his Atletico Madrid squad that Juventus are far from a one-man team.

Former Real Madrid forward Ronaldo has scored 25 goals against Atletico in all competitions, including a hat-trick when the sides met at the last-16 stage in the 2018-19 season.

The Portugal international drew a blank in the reverse fixture two months ago, though, and has struggled for fitness in recent weeks, making him a doubt for the midweek clash.

"He always played really well against us. He is the number one, an amazing player," Simeone said at Monday's pre-match news conference.

"He always know how to create problems to his opponents. But I don't think it will be just Ronaldo against Atletico Madrid.

"We are here looking forward to play in this amazing stadium. And we want to play a great game"

Juventus are already assured of a place in the knockout stages, while Atletico can join them in the last 16 should they pick up all three points in Turin.

However, Atleti have won just one of their last five matches in all competitions and Simeone is expecting another tough match against the Serie A leaders.

"It will be a great game against a very strong and demanding team," he said.

"We have a way of working, which is thinking about tomorrow's game. There are a lot of results that can generate satisfaction or not. Then we will look at the match that remains."

Joao Felix is part of Atletico's squad after returning from a month-long absence with a 15-minute appearance from the bench in Saturday's 1-1 LaLiga draw with Granada.

The Spanish club's record signing has scored three goals in 12 competitive appearances since joining, but Simeone talked up forward's importance to the side.

"He has been with us for a little while, he was injured a month ago and we couldn't count on him," Simeone told the media.

"We need him because he is different, with characteristics that we don't have on the field. With his humility, work and desire to improve from the first day, he will continue growing because he has talent and a lot it."

Atletico trail Juventus by three points but midfielder Koke, who played in the 2-2 draw between the teams in Madrid, has challenged his side to finish top of Group D.

"We want to play well at this stadium," he said. "We want to qualify and finish top of the group, if possible. 

"It's up to us. We’ll be up against one of the competition's best teams, so we'll need to be calm and play well to earn the three points."

Diego Simeone felt Atletico Madrid played perhaps their best game of the season in Saturday's 1-1 LaLiga draw with Granada.

Renan Lodi opened the scoring at Nuevo Estadio de Los Carmenes after an hour only for German Sanchez to equalise seven minutes later.

The draw was Atleti's seventh in their past 10 LaLiga matches and leaves them three points behind Barcelona and Real Madrid at the top of the table, having played a game more.

Simeone was happy with the performance, though, blaming Atletico's failure to hold on for a win on a "careless moment" that allowed Sanchez to head in from a corner.

"This was our best performance of those away from home and also possibly of those at home too," the coach told reporters.

"We were very consistent, especially in the first 30 minutes. Granada didn't get close to our penalty area.

"We played a quite complete match, but we had a careless moment in the goal we conceded. But the team didn't give up."

Joao Felix was fit enough only to appear as a second-half substitute, having been struggling with an ankle injury since last month.

Simeone insists the 20-year-old must be given time to regain full fitness before he can be expected to make a significant impact.

"I act as a result of what I see in training," he said. "He has to keep picking up the pace.

"He has great quality and talent and when he is fully fit he will contribute."

Atletico Madrid lost ground on LaLiga leaders Barcelona as German Sanchez's header saw Granada, who had coach Diego Martinez sent off, fight back to claim a 1-1 draw on Saturday.

Renan Lodi's first Atleti goal had put Diego Simeone's side ahead an hour in at Nuevo Estadio de Los Carmenes, sparking into life what had previously been a drab encounter.

Jan Oblak was called into action to deny Granada an opener midway through the first half, but - after the home team's coach received his marching orders - Atleti's goalkeeper could do little to prevent German finding the net.

With Barca rallying to beat Leganes earlier on Saturday, Atletico needed a victory to remain within a point of the Blaugrana, yet two missed chances from Alvaro Morata was the closest they came to claiming the spoils.

Angel Correa was inches away from nudging Atleti ahead in the third minute but could not stretch far enough to connect with Vitolo's deflected shot across the face of goal.

It took Granada 27 minutes to test Oblak, though the visiting keeper had to react sharply to get down to Antonio Puertas' effort.

Vitolo and Correa combined after the restart, only for the latter to pull a first-time shot wide. Left-back Lodi - who has made a fine start to life at Atleti - made no mistake, however, keeping his cool to slot under goalkeeper Rui Silva.

Maxime Gonalons received a booking for his part in a tussle with Morata soon after, with Martinez then sent to the stands.

However, Granada used their frustrations to spur them on, German getting the better of Kieran Trippier to nod in from Angel Montoro's corner.

Morata failed to keep a header from six yards out on target and the former Chelsea striker then blazed over from Lodi's cutback, while substitute Dario Poveda failed to tuck home amid a goalmouth scramble as Atleti were held to a seventh league draw of the campaign.

Joao Felix has been passed fit for Atletico Madrid's LaLiga trip to Granada on Saturday.

The 20-year-old Portugal forward missed six matches after suffering right ankle ligament damage during last month's 1-1 draw against Valencia.

Club-record signing Joao Felix's return comes as a boost to head coach Diego Simeone, who learned this week he will be without Diego Costa until the new year.

The former Chelsea striker underwent neck surgery on a herniated disk and, although Joao Felix adds welcome creativity to the Atleti attack, Simeone pointed out he cannot directly solve his Costa problem.

"No, he is not a forward in that sector," Simeone told a news conference, before informing reporters youngsters Ivan Saponjic and Dario Poveda would be providing cover for first-choice striker Alvaro Morata.

"With Saponjic, we have been telling him what he needs to get close to being able to compete with us."

Atleti president Enrique Cerezo said before Costa's operation there were no plans to bring in another striker in January and Simeone is seemingly content to work with what he has, while acknowledging Atleti might look to capitalise upon any opportunities thrown up when the market opens.

"I think about reality and that is that we have Alvaro, Dario and that we have to improve Ivan," he said.

"We trust Dario who can use that space to grow, he is only 20 years old [22], good height, good in the air.

"Both in the winter and summer markets you always have to be open to everything because everything can happen. The representatives do their job well and maybe there can always be some player who wants to go, another one who wants to come.

"In the middle of the season, the loss of Costa is important for his personality and what he conveyed in the locker room.

"He was not at his best, but he was there. His place will be covered by Dario, [Rodrigo] Riquelme and Saponjic if he manages to approach what we need."

Third-placed Atletico are a point behind Barcelona and Real Madrid in LaLiga, having played a game more than the leaders, and Simeone also has selection concerns in midfield.

Saul Niguez and Thomas Partey will both sit out the trip to Los Carmenes due to already amassing five LaLiga yellow cards this season.

"Both Thomas and Saul are out and give way to Marcos Llorente and Hector Herrera, to follow the line that the team has been taking," Simeone added, before noting the match as a particular opportunity for Llorente, a close-season acquisition from Real Madrid.

"For Marcos it is an important game. He is not having the chance to play because the Thomas, Saul and Koke are doing very well.

"He has worked very well and for sure he will play a game as a result of how he has worked."

Alvaro Morata suggested Atletico Madrid pay no attention to criticism after he fired the capital club to a vital win at home to Espanyol.

Atleti were winless in three in all competitions and four points off the pace in LaLiga coming into Sunday's fixture, with leaders Barcelona and second-placed Real Madrid each winning a day earlier.

Diego Simeone's men fell a goal behind to Sergi Darder's clinical strike, before Morata came to the fore, creating Angel Correa's equaliser and then scoring himself.

Koke made sure of the points in stoppage time to send Atleti into the international break on a high after a mixed start to the season.

Even as the team have toiled, though, losing to Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League in midweek, Morata insists their attitude cannot be questioned and the squad are united in ignoring external analysis.

"We are always motivated," he said, having scored in a sixth straight game in all competitions. "It may be that sometimes we do well and sometimes we do not. We always go out to win - and today, we have done it.

"Inside the team, we are a compact group and we are not affected by what is said about us. If we do what we have to do, we will go far this season."

Morata added he felt Atleti had been unfortunate in previous matches not to win and so had no qualms about collecting three points from an unconvincing display against struggling Espanyol.

"The important thing is that we win," he said. "I always say it.

"In the end, it is about being all together, in moments like the other day [in Leverkusen] or in Seville [last week's 1-1 draw with Sevilla], matches in which I think we deserved more.

"But today we have won and added three important points to move up the table.

Morata's contributions turned the match on its head after a tough start in which Atleti looked uncharacteristically shaky at the back, not aided by the unorthodox presence of Saul Niguez at left-back.

Renan Lodi, talked up by his coach on Saturday, was left on the bench, and Simeone explained: "I wanted to have more strength and to have a replacement for Lodi, who had been playing many games and needed a break."

Diego Simeone has demanded greater consistency from Atletico Madrid if his side are to challenge Real Madrid and Barcelona for this season's LaLiga title.

Atleti sit fourth after 12 games, winning five and drawing six with one defeat, heading into Sunday's meeting with Espanyol - who beat Ludogorets 6-0 in Europe on Thursday but have lost their last two league matches.

Los Rojiblancos are just two points behind current leaders Real Sociedad, though could have - temporarily at least - moved top themselves last week had they overcome Sevilla.

A defeat to Bayer Leverkusen in Wednesday's Champions League encounter means Atleti are now without a win in their last three matches in all competitions, and Simeone acknowledged his side - who have been hit by injuries to Jose Gimenez, Stefan Savic and Joao Felix - must regain the consistency which has made them regular title contenders in recent seasons.

"We keep thinking about the match. On Saturday, we play against an opponent with an important motivation with the new coach and it will be a complex match," Simeone told a news conference when asked if Atleti could challenge their city rivals and Barca.

"It is complex. We have three important players injured, Joao Felix, Savic and Gimenez. When they are all fit we have more strength and competition. We need to convince ourselves of what we can do and from that find the consistency, which is what we are looking for.

"There are good passages, other bad ones and we need to work on concentration. That is what you get on the field, not from words. It is given by training and matches.

"We want to keep improving and our thinking does not go beyond the match against Espanyol."

Diego Simeone accepted the blame for Atletico Madrid's 2-1 loss to Bayer Leverkusen but insisted afterwards that his side "need action, not words".

Atleti missed out on the chance to qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League as an own goal from Thomas Partey and a strike from Kevin Volland ended their 11-game unbeaten run.

The visitors barely threatened at the BayArena until they were 2-0 down, with Alvaro Morata grabbing a goal in second-half injury time after Nadiem Amiri had been sent off.

Atleti are now three games without a win in domestic and European competition and their ineffective attack is fast becoming a problem, with Diego Costa producing another poor performance before being substituted after an hour.

Simeone would not place the blame on Costa's shoulders, though, stressing the need for players to respond by doubling their efforts in training.

"It doesn't seem fair to me to blame one player," he said afterwards.

"The one who is firstly responsible for the first half and for the team not responding is me because I can't get the team to start with motivation, something that they do in the second half.

"Now, we have to keep working. When words are just repeated, they don't have much meaning. We need action, not words.

"There are things to talk about within the dressing room when results don't come your way. If things are going badly, we have to try twice as hard, work twice as hard."

Midfielder Saul Niguez admits it is becoming a concern that Atleti are unable to perform well across 90 minutes, having played similarly poorly at Sevilla last weekend before fighting back to draw 1-1.

"We've been better," he said to Movistar. "We have to keep working, knowing that there are things we haven't done well and that we always give away a half, and it doesn't have to be like this.

"It's something for everyone to look at so we can come through it. If we don't win the first half, we have to win the second."

Diego Simeone has hailed Angel Correa as a distinctive attacking threat as he looks to improve Atletico Madrid's misfiring forward line.

Atletico look to be close to their best from a defensive perspective this season, having only conceded three goals in all competitions since the 2-2 Champions League draw with Juventus on September 18.

Simeone's attack has looked rather insipid in 2019-20, though: Atleti have scored more than twice in a match on just one occasion this term and have managed 10 goals in their past 10 games in all competitions.

Correa has not scored in any of his 11 appearances this term, but Simeone believes the 24-year-old could be the key to unlocking deep-lying defences and giving the likes of Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata more opportunities.

"He feels more comfortable as a striker, but when he plays on the wing, he is also very dangerous," Simeone said ahead of his side's trip to Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday.

"When he's in a great moment, the team grows in such a way as there are few players like him."

Simeone believes luck has not been on Atleti's side this season, but he insists it is important to give his players confidence as they look for a win on Wednesday that will put them into the Champions League last 16 if Lokomotiv Moscow lose to Juventus.

"We've had chances in all our matches," he said. "Against Getafe, for example, we missed a penalty at 1-0; against Leganes, we had a handball against Morata; against Valencia, a handball against [Santiago] Arias; in Sevilla, it was Costa first and then Morata.

"When we improve and we maintain the bases at the structure of the team, I'm sure will improve this area.

"We try, according to what the players have done on the pitch, to transmit confidence and security to them, all the players.

"Until the very end, you have to look for every formula to help them. That's what we're doing."

Diego Simeone insists his faith in Diego Costa is unwavering due to the striker's work rate, even as a missed penalty cost Atletico Madrid two points at Sevilla.

Atleti recovered from a first-half deficit to draw 1-1, thanks largely to the introduction of Costa and his nuisance factor from the bench at half-time.

The former Chelsea star had a goal disallowed shortly before Alvaro Morata equalised, but he then passed up the opportunity to clinch victory and send Simeone's men top of LaLiga.

Tomas Vaclik denied Costa from 12 yards, meaning he has still scored just twice in all competitions this season.

Simeone came to his player's defence, though, saying: "Diego is at his best physical moment, taking care of himself, training, working. He works but can't find the goal.

"When someone works like Diego, there are two options: either you are with Costa or not with Costa. If you give your all, like Costa, I trust him."

Sevilla likewise could have moved to LaLiga's summit with a victory, with Barcelona beaten at Levante earlier in the day, and Simeone believes Julen Lopetegui's side can be a threat this season.

"I see them doing very well. They always compete well," he said. "They have many players, a deep squad, which means they can make changes.

"They had two injured midfielders. Fernando did not play today. If they are consistent, they will compete."

However, midfielder Koke was frustrated Atleti were not able to beat Sevilla, believing their second-half performance – with Costa in the side – deserved to be rewarded.

"Especially in the second half, we did enough to win the game," he said. "There was a goal disallowed, we had a penalty, we created chances. We left two points on the field in such a complicated game.

"We have to continue working as we did in the second half. We recovered from the Sevilla goal and, in the second half, they had absolutely nothing. This is the standard – we have to keep working.

"We want victories because LaLiga is a bit strange, the big teams are not winning games, but we have to keep working."

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