Double blow for Atletico
Atletico Madrid's feint hopes of challenging for the La Liga title evaporated as they fell to sixth, 12 points adrift of leaders Real Madrid, with a 3-0 defeat by Villarreal yesterday morning (Singapore time).
The hosts capitalised on rare defensive errors from Atletico to go 2-0 up before half-time, thanks to goals from Manu Trigueros and Jonathan dos Santos.
Roberto Soriano secured the three points in stoppage time as the victory lifted Villarreal a point above Atletico and into fourth place.
"We have to improve and we have to work hard. That is the only way we know to get through difficult moments and accept the reality," Atletico boss Diego Simeone told BeIN Sports Spain.
"The reality is we are not in good form, but there is desire, a will to work hard, the players are still running and it will get better."
Atletico were also handed a double blow after goalkeeper Jan Oblak and midfielder Tiago had to be replaced before the break due to injuries.
The La Liga club confirmed yesterday that Slovenia international Oblak had dislocated his left shoulder while attempting to prevent Jonathan dos Santos from scoring Villarreal's second goal. - WIRE SERVICES