Barcelona manager Quique Setien has explained that he left Antoine Griezman on the bench for the third time in four matches to avoid "destabilising" the team.
In an interview with Movistar, Setien said that not everyone can play but insisted that the 29-year-old Frenchman remains an important player for Barcelona.
"The problem is not everyone can play. We have to make decisions. Maybe it wasn't logical to bring him on [that late], but it was worse to not do so," Setien said when asked about the World Cup winner's absence.
"A player like him can always do something. We didn't bring him on before because the team was doing well, Riqui [Puig] was doing well, we always try to have [Luis] Suarez and [Lionel] Messi on the pitch. It is difficult to find a place [for Griezmann] without destabilising the team."
Barca started with a midfield of four on Tuesday now and teenager Ansu Fati was preferred ahead of Griezman who came on as an 88th-minute substitute.
Griezman started brightly to life at Camp Nou and has netted 14 goals this season but has fallen out of favour in recent weeks.
He started on the bench against Sevilla, Celta Vigo and now Atletico -- three games which Barca drew -- as the Blaugrana have given up a two-point lead over Madrid at the top of the table.
"I don't agree with that I have no confidence in him," Setien added in a news conference. "He's an important player but I understand it's tough for him to come on with so little time left.
"I will speak with him [on Wednesday]. I won't say sorry because [it's about] decisions, but I understand he may feel bad and I feel bad for him because he's a great person and a great professional."
Barca next play on Sunday, away at Villarreal. Before then, Madrid play Getafe and Athletic Bilbao, meaning Setien's side could be seven points off the pace the next time they take to the pitch.