By Pete Jenson for MailOnline
Published: 17:29 GMT, 2 December 2019 | Updated: 18:08 GMT, 2 December 2019
Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone called for patience on Sunday night at the Wanda Metropolitano. 'We have to recognise that this is a season of transition,' he said.
The problem with that argument is that it's a very similar one used last season. Atletico spent big again in this summer but while some arrivals such as full backs Kierran Trippier and Renan Lodi have been instant successes others have not.
Real Madrid and Barcelona both started the season badly, making this the ideal campaign to really push for the title, but Atletico are down in sixth out of the Champions League places at the start of December.
Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has plenty food for thought about their current form
Atletico slumped to sixth in La Liga after losing 1-0 at home to Barcelona on Sunday night
At the start of last season the club felt like it was stepping into a new era. Legendary midfield leader Gabi left and Fernando Torres had also played his last game. Antoine Griezmann stayed - for more money - and the club broke its transfer record to sign his pal Thomas Lemar from Monaco.
Atletico were going to finally evolve into a more expressive open team leaving behind the shackles of the '1-0 to Atletico' era.
It didn't work. They lost the ability to pick up 1-0 wins but there was no thrilling attacking football to replace the lost stability. Lemar was underwhelming and Costa - who re-signed mid-season was struggling.
One year on it's a similar story. In the summer they broke their transfer record again, this time for Joao Felix. But the 19-year-old has been injured and unable to lead Atletico into a brave new world. They are struggling to score goals and so when they concede it often means defeat as it did against Barcelona on Sunday night.
'We have to be patient,' Simeone told supporters but those fans know that this year was a fantastic chance to establish an early lead with Real Madrid and Barcelona starting slowly.
Supporters were not dissatisfied with the performance against Barcelona. In Diario AS one column was headlined: 'Like that, yes, you can lose'. In other words when the team gives everything but loses because the Ballon d'Or favourite scores a