Copa del Rey: Atletico Madrid pay price for fighting on too many fronts - Mendieta

Last Updated: 12/02/14 3:44pm

Atletico Madrid were too tired to beat Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey and should have considered which competitions they went for this season, say Gaizka Mendieta.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored two first-half penalties as Real Madrid booked their place in the final with a 2-0 victory at the Vicente Calderon.

Real were already 3-0 up from the first leg but would have been expecting a much tougher fight back from the current Cop del Rey title-holders.

Former Valencia and Barcelona midfielder Gaizka Mendieta told Revista that Atletico boss Diego Simeone has spread his squad too far across three competitions - La Liga, Champions League and Copa del Rey - and now the results are suffering.

Mendieta said: "This has come at the worst time for Atletico Madrid, if it had come a month earlier Atletico Madrid were a different team but it was the worse we've seen Atletico Madrid in the two legs over the whole season.

"I think the result could be down to a lot of reasons but mainly because of tiredness. I think this team has lost that intensity and high tempo they always put into the games. That pressure that Atletico Madrid was mainly all about and we haven't seen that in the last games.

"I think as a manager and with this Atletico Madrid team you have to consider what you are going to go for; you can't go for the three competitions especially with the squad they have. They could have strengthened the squad but they weren't the right players for the team.

"You can't go for the three competitions especially with the squad they have"

Gaizka Mendieta

"You don't want to say 'I'm not going to go and win this competition' but you have to rest certain players and play with others in different competitions, in a way you can keep 23/24 all ready for this last month when things are going to be decided."

Pay the price

Sky Sports Spanish football expert Guillem Balague reiterated Mendieta's thoughts saying, "Atletico Madrid couldn't give a game to Real Madrid, why does Simeone need it?

"I know they were in the semi-finals, they were last year in the cup as well, why are they still focusing on the cup and I wonder if he's going to pay a price for that this season.

"If you cannot rotate, you have to make choices, don't tell the fans but you do it in the way you pick your XI and I think Simeone went for it believing that they still have mentally and physically the strength to do so. I think the team has proven they're not ready for it.

"They are a competitive team if they are given a chance, it's just that I think in this particular month they've been playing three games a week and it's too much for them."