Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak has said that the team’s ongoing injury problems are contributing to their difficulties this season.
Diego Simeone‘s side suffered a 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid in the Madrid derby on Sunday evening, with Mario Hermoso‘s late goal for the hosts only proving to be a consolation.
Atletico also lost at Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League last week, while they are down in seventh spot in the La Liga table, eight points off the leaders Real Madrid.
Key central defenders Stefan Savic and Jose Gimenez were again both absent at Wanda Metropolitano, with Felipe playing his first league game of the campaign, and Axel Witsel continuing in defence.
Oblak has said that the individual absentees are not the problem, rather the ability to train as a unit, which has played a big role in the team finding it difficult early in the campaign.
“It is not just because of the names. Felipe has been out almost five months, he played his second game. Witsel has helped in defence, he is a midfielder who is doing very well. It is not because of the names but the work of the team,” Oblak told AS.
“If you are out for a month or you don’t work with the team, then it is more of a struggle, as has happened with Felipe.
“On Tuesday he did well and today it was a little bit more difficult for him because he was lacking rhythm. If we are not all ready, there are injuries and you cannot work much. If they are absent, you cannot improve.
“I hope that the [international] break serves us well to return with everyone healthy, to be together, because there are a lot of games on the way. We have to improve, we cannot allow the chances we are allowing so that the opponents can finish like that.”
Sergio Reguilon and Thomas Lemar were also missing against Real Madrid, while Hermoso will be suspended for the team’s next league game following his red card in the Madrid derby.
Atletico will be looking to return to winning ways when they make the trip to Estadio Ramon at the start of October to take on Sevilla.
A busy month will also see the Red and Whites face Club Brugge (twice), Girona, Athletic Bilbao, Rayo Vallecano, Real Betis, Bayer Leverkusen and Cadiz.
The group stage of the Champions League needs to be completed by early November due to the 2022 World Cup, which will see the season halted, with the tournament due to start on November 20.