Diego Simeone puts Premier League clubs on alert with hint at Atletico departure

Diego Simeone has put Premier League clubs on alert after hinting he could leave Atletico Madrid at the end of this season.

Atleti's shock Copa del Rey defeat to third-tier Cornella on Wednesday was described by Spanish media as "a disaster".

It is the latest in a series of exits in one-off knockout clashes that have left the La Liga leaders trophyless since they won the Europa League and the UEFA Super Cup in 2018.

Simeone's side were eliminated at the quarter-final stage of last season's Champions League by RB Leipzig after ties were switched to single games amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier in the season they suffered a humbling Copa del Rey exit to third-tier Cultural Leonesa – while they have not beaten a fellow La Liga side in the competition since a win over Elche in January 2017.

And Simeone hinted he might not be at the club next season to improve on his side's poor record in the Copa – despite Atletico being the current La Liga pacesetters.

"This competition has not given us satisfaction in recent years but solutions will have to be found if we are here next year," said the 50-year-old, quoted by Goal.

The manager's admission will have pricked up the ears of various Premier League club owners and chairmen.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta and Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have both been under pressure this season – but both have turned their teams' fortunes around recently.

Frank Lampard is under huge pressure at Chelsea, who have lost four of their last six top-flight games.

And Sheffield United chief Chris Wilder is the bookies' favourite to be the Premier League's next managerial casualty, with his team having failed to win all season.

Former Atletico B defender Adrian Jimenez scored the only goal on Wednesday to dump Los Rojiblancos out of the Copa.

Simeone had named a strong side but Atleti struggled with Ricard Sanchez sent off.

And the manager said: "[Cornella] played better. In the whole game, what they wanted was always done better than what we wanted.

"They took advantage of the set-piece situations and immediately found the goal.

"The boys tried to compete in the best way. In the first half, we had more chances, and in the second, it was rockier. It got difficult after the red card."

Simeone has been in charge of Atletico since December 2011 and has led them to two Europa League triumphs, one La Liga title, one Copa del Rey and the Spanish Super Cup.

They currently lead La Liga by two points, having played two games less than city rivals Real Madrid, who are second, and third-placed Barcelona.

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