By 90Min
August 26, 2018

Diego Simeone insisted there was more to come from his side - particularly Antione Griezmann and Thomas Lemar - following Atletico Madrid's laboured 1-0 victory over Rayo Vallecano on Saturday night. 

The 27-year-old World Cup-winner - who opted to stay at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano this summer despite substantial interest from reigning La Liga champions Barcelona - netted the only goal of the game from close-range shortly after the hour mark with a real poacher's finish. 

The attacker was substituted with around 15 minutes to go after breaking the deadlock; catalysing an attacking onslaught from Rayo which Atleti were fortunate to survive.  

And despite hauling Griezmann off as the frontman searches for full fitness following his summer escapades, Simeone revealed he is well aware of his player's importance to the team. 

"Griezmann is [improving] his level," he told reporters at his press conference (via Marca). "It's clear we're looking [on the field] for a good player, he's a very important player for us, the moment Griezmann stepped off the pitch the team couldn't have any attacking situations.

"We had a lot of good players, but we couldn't make any transitions. Then evidently with the passing of the minutes, we saw what had happened.

"We won in the end, so it's not easy to start because to do well at the start of the season is always hard. It's clear that during the last 10 minutes we didn't play well and our opponent played very well."

Lemar, brought in via a big-money deal from Ligue 1 outfit Monaco in June, featured for the entire 90 minutes on Saturday, and should - if he can replicate his form with the French side - prove a valuable acquisition for Simeone. 

Although, the 48-year-old is aware the potential Wanda favourite still needs time to adapt his game fully to Atletico's style of play. 

"Lemar is an important player," the Argentine added.

"We needed him; the team needed a player like him to do a better job this season. If he's closer to goal, he'll create more dangers. I think he can give us more than he has given us.

"In the defensive part, in other areas, he's been doing a very good job with not that many matches with us, and I think he'll grow with the more matches, especially with the understanding of the footballers that are around him."

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