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Raul Garcia is a good option for Simeone from the bench, but Atletico don't boast the same depth as Real or Barca.
While Atletico have made a strong case for themselves with their record under Simeone, the only way they can truly compete with Barcelona and Real is to have a deeper bench to carry them through the difficult parts of the season.
Although the team is more than just Falcao, it was interesting to see them perform without him against Espanyol, rock bottom at the end of September.
Atleti still came away with the win, but the absence of Falcao was clearly noticeable. To Espanyol’s credit, their defence did a good job for the first 30 minutes, but a team of Atletico’s quality should have broken them down much earlier.
This is likely to worsen as the season continues. Without the depth of the top two teams in La Liga, Atleti will drop points in games they are expected to win. Injuries will affect the team much more, and a shock loss can turn into a losing streak very quickly.
Saying that the team needs additional players in depth positions is all very well. However, Atleti already find themselves in a difficult financial position, with UEFA withholding the team’s prize money last year in order to settle outstanding debts.
The acquisition of Falcao may have translated to success on the field, but it was a calculated risk. A lot of supporters were dismayed by his price tag, and Eurosport.Yahoo.com reported that payments to Porto are behind schedule.
Teams that operate at a loss inevitably get caught in a cycle of selling, with their best young talents sold off to stabilise the club before they can reach their potential.
Atletico have a good reputation for finding promising players and developing them but are often forced to sell them earlier than they would like.
It’s always difficult for a club to extricate themselves from this circle without winning, but they can’t win without top players. Atletico’s winning attitude is sustainable with all their first-team players healthy and in form, but history shows that is almost always too much to ask.