​Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone defended midfielder Rodrigo after his mistake led to Girona's goal during their 1-1 draw on Sunday.

Atleti had the chance to move top of La Liga before Barcelona played but Los Rojiblancos were behind after Rodrigo's loose pass resulted in Cristhian Stuani being played in on goal. Jan Oblak brought the former Middlesbrough forward down in the box and he tucked away the resulting penalty.

Speaking after the game, Simeone claimed the mistake is part of Rodrigo's personality and also highlighted how tough Spain's top flight is this year.

He said, as quoted by ​Goal"In the normal line that we are used to, he takes risks because of his personality.

"The balls can be lost and they took advantage of it very well. I liked the team a lot, in the first half we played the way we wanted.

"Girona are a very tough and complex team who are having a good time, with a goal to tie, win or lose.

"​La Liga is barbaric, there are no simple rivals and that makes it appealing."

Simeone also reserved praised for ​Diego Costa, who was battling a foot injury and played a key role in ​Atletico's 83rd minute equaliser, an own goal from Jonas Ramalho.

He added: "It was the purest Costa. He's making an effort, he left his soul in every move."


Atleti's seventh league draw already this season means they trail leaders Barca by three points ahead of their game against Alaves on Saturday. They're next in action in the Copa del Rey when they take on Sant Andreu on Wednesday.