Diego Simeone, Atletico Madrid’s coach, has defended Antoine Griezmann despite his recent poor performances and also praised the team for being able stick with a game until the end following Saturday’s late win against Deprotivo La Coruna.

It was generally a slow game and Antoine Griezmann missed Atletico’s best chance in the second half. Simeone then withdraw Griezmann and brought on Jose Maria Gimenez with ten minutes left.

The team are still unbeaten this season and Simeone said that the team is demonstrating that they can compete and pick up points, even when things are not going to plan.

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“What gave us the chance to win the game was staying in it until the last minute,” Simeone said. “Until the final minute it was clear that a chance would come. The dead ball came, something we needed, and Thomas scored a great goal. We have not lost yet [in La Liga]. Only points Valencia have dropped at home were to us. Only points Barca have dropped were to us too. If we have 23 points, and Griezmann has just scored two goals, that is a good sign.”

Griezmann, who was a €100 million target for Manchester United last summer, has scored just three goals in total all season and he has failed to score in his last seven club outings.

However, Simeone refused to criticise him and instead said, “Griezmann is one of the players on our team, a good player for our team,” he said. “I wanted to strengthen the team [with the substitution]. [Depor] were almost playing with four forwards and our team was starting to break up. I thought that by strengthening the centre we would have a better chance. It went as I had hoped.”