Diego Simeone defended the substitution of Rodri in the second half of Atletico Madrid’s 1-1 draw with Eibar on Saturday, saying that he did so in an attempt to secure a victory.
Atletico salvaged the point deep into added time when Borja Garces, who replaced Rodri, scored the equaliser in the 94th minute.
“The team understood that I wanted to win the game and I could have taken off Koke and Saul in place of Rodrigo,” Simeone said. “But I thought that they can create better transition in attack.”
The change was whistled by fans after Rodri played an impressive game in midfield.
“The fans come here and they are very impulsive,” Simeone said. “They see a player doing well and I take him off. But the manager who works with them every day put on a striker and that player went on to score the goal to draw the game.”
Atletico, off to their worst start since 2009, are in crisis, with Santiago Arias, Nicola Kalinic and Lucas Hernandez out injured and Stefan Savic serving a suspension for a red card against Celta Vigo.
“It’s a moment you have to endure and be strong,” Simeone said.
Atletico dropped points for the third time in four games and claimed their only victory against Rayo Vallecano.
Simeone, though, insisted he was happy with the performance despite the lack of goals.
“I liked it,” he said. “The team had chances to go in with an advantage at the break. Their keeper was spectacular. You have to congratulate him. We have to keep looking for these chances so the goal appears.”