Sport Lemar has not been this good for a long time - Simeone

22:30  28 november  2020
22:30  28 november  2020 Source:   goal.com

Which LaLiga underdogs could pip Madrid and Barca to the title?

  Which LaLiga underdogs could pip Madrid and Barca to the title? PETE JENSON IN SPAIN: It hasn't happened since 2014, but a glance at the LaLiga table after two months of the season suggests someone other than Real Madrid and Barcelona could win.LaLiga looks to be firmly up for grabs with Real Sociedad topping the table and Villarreal sitting just behind, as Madrid are left trailing in sixth place and Barca lagging even further behind in 8th.

Despite a somewhat subpar 2017/18 season with Monaco, Thomas Lemar has assured Atletico Madrid fans he can recapture his best form with the LaLiga outfit.

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Diego Simeone lauded Thomas Lemar for an improved performance in Atletico Madrid's win at Valencia, despite the winger again failing to contribute to a goal.

a football player on a field: Thomas Lemar takes on Valencia © AFP Thomas Lemar takes on Valencia

Lemar, signed from Monaco in 2018, has not scored or provided an assist in LaLiga since his debut campaign, which yielded three goals and three assists.

After drawing a blank in the previous season, 2020-21 is proving similarly tricky for the France international.

However, there were signs of life in the 1-0 success on Saturday. Lemar had mustered just a single shot in the league so far this season but let fly on four occasions, drawing two superb saves from Jaume Domenech, and created three chances - more than doubling his tally for the campaign.

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Lemar was still substituted 25 minutes from time, before Toni Lato's own goal turned the game decisively in Atleti's favour, but Simeone was encouraged by what he saw.

"He played very well, believe me," Simeone said. "We do not have players who have his drive and shooting ability.

"The talk fades when we don't see him so often, but hopefully we can give him the confidence he needs because he can do us a lot of good."

Lemar was replaced by ex-Valencia midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia, by which point Simeone had already called on fellow substitutes Joao Felix and Yannick Carrasco, each rested before a midweek Champions League match with Bayern Munich.

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"They have known me for a long time; the game is 90 minutes and I have five changes," the coach said, explaining his selection. "The squad gives me the possibility to give everyone the best minutes.

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"I am very happy with Lemar, who has not been like today for a long time."

Domenech has now made 40 saves this season, the most in LaLiga, with five of those coming against Atleti, who dominated 67 per cent of possession.

"The standout player for our rivals was the goalkeeper and that says a lot," Simeone said. "There were shots from [Marcos] Llorente, Lemar and [Angel] Correa. He made two or three impressive saves.

"The team needs to keep trying to create chances and, once we get them, being more forceful.

"We felt very good, we were able to play for a long time in the opponent's territory and we were close to the goal until it came and the space changed a bit.

"Winning in Valencia is not easy; they came from playing a good game against Madrid and recovered from 2-0 down against Alaves. They were well organised."

Atleti - who have moved level on points with table-topping Real Sociedad – will be boosted further when Luis Suarez returns after his coronavirus diagnosis.

"The doctor will let us know [when Suarez can return]," Simeone added. "He is fine, I have spoken a lot of times to see how he felt and he is very excited to return.

"His presence in the dressing room gives us something and I hope he returns in the best way. The team needs it."

Simeone rues lack of finishing touch as Atletico go to the wire .
Atletico Madrid were held by an understrength Bayern Munich, leaving Diego Simeone aware exactly where his side must improve.Atletico went into Tuesday's Champions League clash with holders Bayern knowing that victory would be enough to secure second place in Group A.

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