Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has suggested that he may not be at the club next year to avenge Wednesday’s shock 1-0 defeat to third tier side Cornella in the Copa del Rey second round.
Simeone rested a handful of key players but still sent out a side that featured the likes of Joao Felix, Saul Niguez and Jose Gimenez, but that firepower wasn’t enough to save them from a humiliating defeat.
An Adrian Jimenez goal after just seven minutes proved to be the winner for the hosts, while Ricard Sendra was sent off for Atleti shortly after the hour mark.
It’s now two seasons in a row in which Atletico have been eliminated by a third tier side, falling to Cultural Leonesa in the third round last season, and Simeone had everyone confused after the game when he hinted that he may not be around next year to right the wrongs.
“[Cornella] played better,” he said (via Goal). “In the whole game, what they wanted was always done better than what we wanted. They took advantage of the set-piece situations and immediately found the goal.
“The boys tried to compete in the best way. In the first half, we had more chances, and in the second, it was rockier. It got difficult after the red card.
“This competition has not given us satisfaction in recent years but solutions will have to be found if we are here next year.”
Simeone was also specifically asked about his future, but he again chose to offer up a cryptic response.
“Things change all the time in football, and you have to be open to all possibilities,” he added (via the Daily Mail). “I’m very happy here but you have to be open to whatever the club decides.”
It would come as a huge surprise to see Simeone, who is under contract until 2022, leave Atletico. They currently sit top of La Liga, two points clear of Real Madrid with an extra two games in hand, and have made it through to the Champions League knockout stages, so it’s not as if things are actually going badly this season, but losing in such humiliating fashion yet again obviously raises some eyebrows.
On the defeat, Saul added: “We apologise to the fans. We never throw away competitions, but in these single-game editions we are not doing well.”