Diego Simeone Says Joao Felix 'Has to Keep Improving' After La Liga Debut

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2019

MADRID, SPAIN - AUGUST 18: Joao Felix of Club Atletico de Madrid looks on during the Liga match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Getafe CF at Wanda Metropolitano on August 18, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has said Joao Felix must keep improving following his debut in La Liga.

Atletico were 1-0 winners against Getafe in Week 1 of the 2019-20 campaign, with Alvaro Morata's first-half goal giving them all three points. After an impressive pre-season, Felix showed flashes of quality in his first outing in the Spanish top flight.

Speaking about the 19-year-old after the game, Simeone said he wants to see progression from the Portugal international, per Sacha Pisani of Goal:

"The first league game is not easy. It's complex. We faced a team who tactically moves well defensively. They have not left him space in the first half so that he can take advantage of his game.

"But, as an individual, he showed his power, and hopefully these situations appear more often. He has to keep improving."

While he didn't get on the scoresheet, Felix was a threat when in possession, and he produced a brilliant solo run in the second half that ultimately culminated in him being fouled in the penalty area. Morata was unable to convert from 12 yards, though.

Felix showcased remarkable speed and strength to make the opportunity for his team:

LaLiga @LaLigaEN

📺 @AlvaroMorata and @joaofelix70 made the difference as @atletienglish started with a win! 🔥 #AtletiGetafe https://t.co/ObVkxFxxA9

Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC commented on an impressive full debut from the Atletico youngster:

Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan

FT Atletico 1-0 Getafe. Hanging on a bit at the end, but Morata's header from Trippier's cross enough for the three points. Standout moment tho was that run by Joao Felix, who looked very, very special.

Having burst on to the scene with Benfica in the previous campaign, Felix is one of the brightest prospects in the world game. 

He netted 15 goals in the Portuguese top flight last term, and it wasn't a surprise to see him linked with some of the biggest clubs in European football. However, it was a shock when Atletico smashed their transfer record to sign him, paying £113 million to Benfica.

Although it was an extraordinary amount of money to part with, the early indications are that Felix will go on to become one of the best players in the game. The youngster shone for Atletico in pre-season and looked at home against La Liga's most physical outfit in Getafe.

Squawka Football provided the numbers behind the 19-year-old's La Liga debut:

Squawka Football @Squawka

João Félix's LaLiga debut by numbers: 100% shot accuracy 100% take-ons completed 90% pass acc. in opp. half 4 fouls won 3 aerial duels won 2 take-ons 1 penalty won 1 interception 1 tackle This kid is going to be special. https://t.co/jRAaBQopgM

The one blemish on Sunday's match for Atletico was a knock suffered by Felix that prompted his withdrawal from the game after 66 minutes. Simeone will be hopeful the forward is fit to feature against Leganes on Sunday.

Losing Antoine Griezmann to Barcelona represented a blow for Atletico in the transfer window this summer. While Felix still has a long way to go to reach the same levels as the Frenchman, the signs are that Atletico have secured an enthralling young alternative.