Atletico’s time not yet up despite Champions League elimination

It’s been an odd season for Atletico Madrid. Unbeaten in La Liga and now eliminated from the Champions League, the Spanish side has flipped-flopped between good and bad.

Manager Diego Simeone found it “difficult to explain” the paradox after Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea – a match Atletico had to win to give itself a chance of reaching the knockout phase. Somehow, his players were able to take four points away from eventual Group C winner Roma, but only two from bottom-feeder Qarabag.

In the end, Atletico was simply too wasteful to advance, producing a horrific shot conversion rate of 4.7 percent in Europe. Simeone’s men had their biggest problems against newcomer Qarabag, scoring just once from 46 shots against the Azerbaijani outfit. A team that depends so much on one-goal victories cannot afford to be that profligate.

It’s clear Atletico’s in a state of flux. Amid claims that Antoine Griezmann may have already checked out, the club has struggled to score on a regular basis. Griezmann’s been asked to play as a traditional No. 9, even though that’s not what he is; as one of the best two-way forwards in world …read more