Héctor Herrera, during Atlético de Madrid's training session last Thursday at Cerro del Espino in Majadahonda.Zipi / EFE
With the cushion of points on Barcelona and Real Madrid minimized and nine days left, Atlético will play the top of the League for the first time.
The margin of error hardly exists for the rojiblancos, who also visit Betis this Sunday (21.00, Movistar LaLiga) without their two best scorers Luis Suárez (19) and Marcos Llorente (9), both sanctioned.
A challenge for Simeone and the footballers of his choice.
From what he has proven during the week, the absence of the couple that accumulates 64% of the rojiblancos goals, will provide a unique team.
The line-up invites more to think about playing than about crashing.
Herrera's return, escorted by Koke and Lemar, describes a midfield with more touch than muscle.
And striker Correa-João Félix demands more play from below than from above.
He will not have a reference striker Simeone.
Dembélé, after fainting in training, continues to undergo tests while the medical services analyze the reports they have requested from all the clubs he has gone through.
His return to the group is not expected until next week, despite the player's attempt, according to the SER channel, to exempt the club from any responsibility if he already played.
Herrera's presence in the title is perhaps the most significant of all.
He has not played from the beginning since the defeat in the Valdebebas derby (2-0), in which a muscle injury before the break left him out for a month.
Afterward, the coronavirus confined him for three weeks.
The Mexican midfielder reappears in the midst of the game crisis and results suffered by his team, also in need of personality.
Herrera's has appeared several times in the year and a half he has been at the club.
He is one of the few players who has not changed his way of playing to fit Simeone's style.
He has not stopped offering himself and risking in the pass.
With his football, Herrera has had good, regular and bad games, but he has never stopped playing at the rhythm dictated by his head and legs.
In the dressing room they also verified that he was a type to follow when he defended his right to stay before the club's intention to put him on the market.
With Herrera in the eleven, Atlético signed some of their best games in the first part of the season.
The same arc of time in which João Félix shone.
In addition to the duel with Betis, Suárez will be out for three more weeks due to the muscle break in his left leg that he suffered in training on Wednesday.
This increases the pressure on João Félix, obliged to lead the attack that allows Atlético to reach the new goal that Simeone has set in the face of the tightness at the top of the table: “Fighting the last five days of such a complex League.
Hopefully we get to those five dates.
Before, Luis [Aragonés] said 10 days, but time has passed and I say the last five ”.
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