Simeone defends Rodrigo after error in Girona draw

Rodrigo made a bad mistake in Atletico Madrid's 1-1 LaLiga draw at Girona but Diego Simeone defended the Spain midfielder.

Diego Simeone says taking risks is part of Rodrigo's game after the Atletico Madrid midfielder contributed to Girona's opening goal in Sunday's LaLiga draw.

Rodrigo's lose pass in midfield resulted in Cristhian Stuani being played through on Jan Oblak's goal by Patrick Roberts, the goalkeeper tripping the Girona striker just inside the box.

Stuani beat Oblak from 12 yards out to move clear at the top of LaLiga's scoring charts but Atleti scrambled a late equaliser thanks to a spectacular own goal by Jones Ramalho.

A victory would have moved Atletico Madrid top of the table - at least temporarily with Sevilla and Barcelona also in action on Sunday - but Simeone refused to blame Rodrigo.

"In the normal line that we are used to, he takes risks because of his personality," Simeone told a post-match news conference.

"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 what we wanted.

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

"LaLiga is barbaric, there are no simple rivals and that makes it appealing."

Ramalho diverted a volley into his own goal as part of a desperate attempt to stop Diego Costa from scoring, the Spain striker having brilliantly controlled a long pass from Angel Correa.

Costa was playing through the pain of a foot injury and Simeone hailed the forward's battling performance.

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

Atletico were without a trio of key defenders with Juanfran, Filipe Luis and captain Diego Godin all missing out due to injury.

And midfielder Koke hailed Atletico's character in coming from behind to earn a precious point, avoiding their first LaLiga loss since September 1.

"We played at a great level today," Koke said. "We were unlucky in front of goal and we have to congratulate the team for the effort. We have to continue working like this and the wins will come."