Diego Simeone has given his backing to the Atletico Madrid squad after a poor run of results which has seen the capital club drop off the pace in the LaLiga title race.
Atletico have lost three of their past four league outings following last week’s 3-0 humbling at the hands of city rivals Real Madrid at Vicente Calderon.
That humiliation – courtesy of a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick – saw Atletico drop to sixth, nine points behind their opponents, who sit atop the table.
By contrast, Atletico have conceded just once in winning all four of their Champions League games, and Simeone felt it necessary to express support for his usually miserly defence ahead of Wednesday’s visit of Group D opponents PSV.
“We have four very good centre-backs – Lucas [Hernandez], Diego [Godin], [Stefan] Savic and Jose [Maria Gimenez],” he said in his pre-match news conference.
“They all have an extraordinary level. Jose will play tomorrow. They are all different players, with different characteristics. I as coach look for what is best for the team. But that is not a judgement on the quality of any of the four.
“I believe that always goals come for a certain reason, and you can read them as either collective or individual.
“We always say it is collective, and in that way we work on it and try to improve.
“Of the last five goals, four have been at set-pieces, there was a free-kick deflected off the wall, and three penalties. It is difficult to concentrate on just one thing, but these are all different episodes.
“But we look at what has happened, to find the best solutions for the team so that we return to the path to victory.
“Now is the Champions League, a moment for sure important to keep picking up points in this competition, and have the chance to, if it is good, qualify first.
“We are focused on PSV, know the difficulties the game can bring. We always look to improve on the past game and to focus on what comes next.
“For five years we have played to win and with the talent we have, it’s all I care about.
“When a team wins, people speak well of it, and when they lose, people speak ill of it. I get paid for the team to win so that’s what I’ll try to do.”