Diego Simeone says Atletico Madrid want to keep their best players as speculation mounts that Antoine Griezmann will soon leave the club.

It was very much a case of after the Lord Mayor’s show as a second-string Atletico Madrid side slumped to a 2-0 home defeat against Espanyol on Sunday afternoon — their first at the Wanda Metropolitano in La Liga.

There was an understandable sense of lethargy from Los Rojiblancos after their midweek exploits and truth be told, the result was no less than their visitors deserved.

Plenty of food for thought for Diego Simeone, who would have been looking for his fringe players to stake a claim for a starting spot in Lyon later this month.

Positives

Youngster Arona Sane looked decent when he came on. Having Filipe Luis back from injury is a big bonus, too.

Negatives

Losing 2-0 at home, no matter the circumstances is never good news. Also, Vitolo hobbled off injured, which is bad news.

Manager rating out of 10

5 — Simeone picked a weakened XI and changed to a back three. Suffice to say, it did not work.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Jan Oblak, 6 – Wonderful save to tip Gerard Moreno’s shot onto the post at 0-0. Could do nothing about the first goals he conceded since January at home.

DF Sime Vrsaljko, 5 — Appears to have forgotten how to cross and doesn’t have much more memory of how to defend as he backed off Leo Baptistao until he pulled the trigger and scored the second.

DF Stefan Savic, 4 — Is not having the best time of it of late and that was summed up as he deflected the first goal past the helpless Oblak. Not great for the second, either.

DF Jose Maria Gimenez, 6 — Looked tired after Thursday’s big 90 minutes and it told with some lazy clearances at times. Not helped out by the change in formation.

DF Lucas Hernandez, 6 — Best of a bad bunch in the back three. Looked to carry the ball out of the back and used his pace and power well to that effect.

DF Filipe Luis, 6 — A welcome return just 49 days after breaking a bone in his leg, but the time off showed as the Brazilian looked sluggish and a yard off the pace. Good to get minutes under his belt, though.

Fernando Torres' second spell at Atletico Madrid is ending with a whimper.
Fernando Torres’ Atletico Madrid career is coming to a disappointing conclusion.

MF Thomas Partey, 6 — Tried to create from midfield, however was far too erratic in possession. Another who looked slightly jaded and could do with a rest.

MF Koke, 6 — Played the first 45, knocked the ball around a bit and was given the second half off and replaced by Saul Niguez.

MF Vitolo 6 — Limped off within the first half an hour after a promising start in which he went close. With Atleti down to the bare bones already, hopefully it’s nothing serious ahead of the Europa League final.

FW Kevin Gameiro, 5 – AWOL. Unable to get involved and was not helped by the lack of service, either.

FW Fernando Torres, 5 — See Gameiro. Hardly had a sniff.

Substitutes

FW Arona Sane, 6 — A tough one to make your debut in La Liga in but he looked lively and like he might contribute come next season.

MF Saul, Niguez 6 — On for Koke at half-time used the ball well but, like everyone else, was far too passive.

MF Gabi, 6 — Came on as the system changed, but it ultimately proved too little, too late.

Joseph Walker covers Atletico Madrid for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @Joe_in_espana.


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