Atletico Madrid lost ground to La Liga leaders Real Madrid as they were held to a 0-0 draw away to Real Valladolid on Sunday, their third goalless draw in four games, after the hosts squandered a penalty kick in the first half.
Striker Sandro Ramirez sent the ball flying over the crossbar from the spot towards the end of a tight first half and came close to breaking the deadlock in the second when his shot shaved the post.
Atletico were the better side after the interval and striker Alvaro Morata was denied at point-blank range by Valladolid’s goalkeeper Jordi Matip, while substitute Angel Correa hit the post with 10 minutes remaining.
Diego Simeone’s side, who have now failed to score in four of their last five league games, are second in the standings on 15 points after eight games, while Real are top with 18.
“If you look at our first half display then the draw is one point earned, if you look at the second half it’s two points dropped,” said Simeone.
“We were more precise in the second half, we played with more intensity and we had a couple of chances to win the match. We were closer to playing to how we want to but we needed to be more precise, more confident and more decisive in the box.”
Atletico midfielder Saul Niguez, however, criticised his side for not showing enough ambition early in the game.
“I don’t feel very positive after the game, we didn’t start in the way we should have done, we need to go after victory from the first minute because otherwise what happened today will keep on happening,” he said.
“This has happened on a few occasions now and we have to take a hard look at ourselves.”