Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone said Joao Felix has to keep improving following his LaLiga bow against Getafe, while fellow debutant Kieran Trippier earned praised after setting up the winning goal.
Joao Felix had his first taste of Spanish top-flight football as Atletico opened their LaLiga campaign with a 1-0 victory thanks to Alvaro Morata’s 23rd-minute header at home to Getafe on Sunday.
A club-record €126million signing from Benfica, Joao Felix was largely subdued by Getafe, but the 19-year-old did produce a stunning solo run from inside his own half to earn a second-half penalty, which Morata failed to convert.
Discussing Joao Felix’s debut at the Wanda Metropolitano – where the Portuguese sensation was substituted in the 66th minute following a knock – Simeone told reporters: “The first league game is not easy. It’s complex.
“A rival who tactically moves well defensively. They have not left him space in the first half so that he can take advantage of his game.
“But in an individual action showed his power and hopefully these situations appear with more continuity. He has to keep improving.”
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— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) August 18, 2019
England international full-back Trippier also made his LaLiga debut alongside Joao Felix and Renan Lodi, after arriving from Champions League finalists Tottenham in the off-season.
Trippier provided the inch-perfect cross for Morata to head past David Soria in Madrid, while Lodi was sent off following two yellow cards in quick succession prior to half-time after Getafe’s Jorge Molina had been controversially sent off at the conclusion of a VAR review moments earlier.
“He played very well with depth, quality and precision,” Simeone said of Trippier. “His cross to Morata was great and he found a specialist like Morata.”
On Morata – who led the line in the absence of injured team-mate Diego Costa – Simeone added: “From him I expect what he did in the whole game today. Obviously having more forcefulness on the penalty, but Morata’s match was fantastic, he fought all the balls, scored a goal and constantly generated danger.”
Simeone was also asked about Valencia forward Rodrigo Moreno, who has been tipped to join Atletico before the transfer windows shuts on September 2.
“We cannot talk about Rodrigo, because he is in Valencia. We have to talk about the players who are here,” Simeone said.
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