Simeone faces anxious times

Atletico Madrid
Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone is ready to match Manchester City's wage offer in an effort to keep midfielder Rodrigo Hernandez at the club.

Coach Diego Simeone feels Atletico Madrid’s failure to score in Friday’s goalless draw with Villarreal is a sign of anxiety in the ranks.

It was the third consecutive match in which Atletico failed to walk off with all three points and means they have won just one of their past six La Liga games, and two from 10.

The result leaves the capital outfit sixth in the Spanish top-flight standings, level on 26 points with fourth-placed Real Sociedad and fifth-placed Athletic Bilbao.

It was a poor display by Los Rojiblancos at Estadio de la Ceramica but not entirely unexpected by the boss due to the current state of his players.

“It is normal that when you generate so many chances and do not convert, anxiety appears,” Simeone said. “And more anxiety, less precision.”

Atletico have traditionally been the only real rival to the big two of Real Madrid and Barcelona but Sevilla are trying to muscle in on the action this term.

Sociedad and Bilbao are challenging for a top-four spot at present but it remains to be seen if the duo are still in the hunt next May.

Simeone is hopeful his charges will be involved at the right end of the table and is confident they have the talent to compete once their mindset is correct.

“When anxiety disappears, tranquillity and precision will come from the players we have,” he added.

The Argentinian’s next task will be to prepare his men for next Wednesday’s Champions League encounter at home to Lokomotiv Moscow, with victory ensuring their passage into the last 16.