Simeone identifies cause of Atletico's lack of 'brilliance'

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Diego Simeone explained Atletico Madrid's lack of "brilliance" in Wednesday's disappointing draw with Granada was down to fatigue.

Atletico were held to a goalless stalemate by struggling Granada at the Wanda Metropolitano, doing little to improve Los Colchoneros' Champions League qualification hopes.

Although the draw did move them up to second, Barcelona and Sevilla – both a point behind – each have at least one game in hand, while their inability to win ensured Atletico did not take full advantage of fifth-placed Real Betis losing on Tuesday.

Atletico recorded 1.4 expected goals (xG) against Granada but were wasteful in front of goal, hitting the target just once from their 22 attempts.

For Simeone, the explanation was simple.

Asked what was missing for Atletico, Simeone told reporters: "[We needed to] generate more chances to score, especially being more forceful in dangerous situations. Granada defended very well.

"We looked at the different options we had [in attack]. We had the [Manchester] City game, we played after three days against Espanyol and we ended up with one [player] less [Joao Felix], and in another three days we played against Granada.

"It's not an excuse, [but] we lacked brilliance due to the team's fatigue. There are five games left, and game by game we have to fight. Whoever is most engaged will go into the Champions League."

Atletico were frustrated late in the first half when a penalty was not given against Victor Ruiz for a challenge on Antoine Griezmann.

But Simeone opted against putting too much emphasis on that incident, again pointing to his team's recent workload instead.

"I didn't see the Griezmann incident. Apparently there is contact," he continued. "There's the VAR to make decisions, I am just here to improve my team.

"The boys came from making a great effort and they gave everything they had because they came here very tired.

"We lacked a goal, we lacked brilliance – that is achieved when you are fresh."

The Atletico coach gave his 19-year-old son Giuliano his LaLiga debut right at the end, though in typical Simeone fashion, he did not look at the situation with any particular sentimentality.

"I thought of him as being a footballer," the former Argentina international said. "We had one more option [on the bench] as a striker.

"He showed in a few minutes that he has a lot of intensity, aggressiveness."

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