News

Simeone adamant Champions League knockout is no sign of a bad campaign

Los Rojiblancos could not make it out of the group stage after years of successful European runs.

Atlético Madrid head coach Diego Simeone insists that his team’s campaign in Europe is not necessarily a failure even though they were eliminated from the Champions League early on.

Atléti needed a win against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge to even hope for advancing onto the next stage of the tournament, but they could only get to a 1-1 draw with the reigning Premier League champions.

Saúl Ñíguez scored one for the La Liga side, giving home to Simeone’s men that they might achieve what they came for, but Stefan Savić’s unfortunate own goal put an end to those dreams and Atléti finished third in the group behind AS Roma and Chelsea.

However, Simeone insisted that wailing to qualify to the last 16 of the Champions League cannot be considered a failure.

“We didn’t fail. This sort of thing can happen. They gave it their all to win and try to go through until the last minute. We’re fine,” Simeone said as quoted per Goal.

“What’s important is to be decisive. You need to score. We only lost one game [in the UEFA Champions League], in the 93rd minute. No excuses – we’ll be rated at the end of the season.

“I’m going to motivate the players for the UEFA Europa League as I would for a friendly, a La Liga game, a Copa del Rey game. When you wear the Atlético shirt, you don’t need additional motivation.

“It’s now a new challenge for us. New dreams to fight for.”