Manchester United’s hopes for their Champions League tie against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday have been given a huge boost following the Spanish outfit’s poor form – with Diego Simeone’s men being branded as ‘pathetic’ for their recent displays and results.
Atletico currently sit fifth in La Liga, a long way away from the title-winning form they produced last season.
Simeone had only lost Moussa Dembele, Kieran Trippier and Saul ahead of the current season, although the imports of Rodrigo De Paul, Matheus Cunha and Antoine Griezmann meant that the Argentine’s squad was improved.
Real Madrid and Sevilla have been in imperious form and have left Atletico 15 points off the top of the league, with Simeone’s men uncharacteristically conceding more goals than anyone in the top 11.
Atletico have already conceded nine more goals than they did in the entirety of last season’s title win with 13 games to go.
And that has given them a huge chance of being knocked out of the Champions League by United according to Spanish football journalist Andy Hunter, who has branded Atletico as ‘pathetic’.
“I know that your viewers will have been watching Atletico with an eye to it being United’s big chance to smash somebody,” Hunter said on Livescore.
“They couldn’t beat Championship side Middlesbrough! But now that it is Atletico, it’s ‘easy peasy’!
“If you look at when Simeone took over, Atleti were mid-table. He immediately turned them into a side that didn’t concede for six matches.
“This season, they’ve been saying to teams ‘go and score one or two, then we’ll wake up and fight back.’
“That’s pathetic at any level, but at a Champions League level, even with an idiosyncratic and unpredictable opponent like United, it’s beckoning to be knocked out.”
United will look to advance against a side who are leaking goals left, right and centre.
However, they are in a very similar position to their opponents, having conceded the same amount of goals as them while also sharing the same position in the table.
Both teams will be desperate to progress with the Champions League representing the only trophy either of them can win this season.
With Atletico struggling for results, Simeone may well ring the changes for their match against United, with the La Liga giants’ training XI on Monday missing a number a key names, including Luis Suarez.