MADRID (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone is frustrated by his team’s continued struggles from the penalty spot and is keeping his fingers crossed that the situation will improve.
Fernando Torres missed from the spot against Celta Vigo on Sunday, Atletico’s sixth failed penalty out of nine in all competitions this season.
The former Spain striker became the third Atletico player to fail to convert a penalty in three games when he smashed the ball against the crossbar in the first half, although Simeone’s team still managed a 3-2 home victory.
“We would be so good if we scored our penalties,” Simeone told reporters. “But it’s a part play.”
Kevin Gameiro hit the woodwork in last week’s 1-1 draw at Barcelona which allowed the Catalan side to claim a 3-2 aggregate win and a place in the King’s Cup final.
Remembering that Antoine Griezmann missed from the spot in last year’s Champions League final against Real Madrid and his team then lost on penalties when Juanfran hit the post before Cristiano Ronaldo struck the winning penalty, Simeone is growing weary of his players’ lack of precision.
Griezmann, who finished third in the Ballon d‘Or vote behind Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi of Barcelona respectively, has missed three this season.
“Some people say that we need to train for penalties but that’s difficult because we would need to have 30,000 people at training,” the Argentine said.
”The situation is not the same when training and playing because you could be tired, under pressure.
“We are struggling to score from the spot. We hope to keep winning them and to have a cooler head when taking them.”
The 2014 Spanish champions are fourth in the standings, seven points behind leaders Real Madrid who have played two games less.
Atletico travel to Bayer Leverkusen for the first leg of their Champions League last 16 first-leg match on Feb. 21.
Reporting by Adriana Garcia, editing by Ed Osmond