City outclass Gladbach in dominant display

Atletico Madrid still on course for season objectives, says Diego Simeone


Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone said his team were still on track to obtain their season's objectives and could be happy despite losing out to Real Madrid in this season's Champions League quarterfinals as his players had given their all and made their fans proud.

Atletico struggled at times in both legs, and had Arda Turan sent off in the return with a 15 minutes of normal time remaining, but were within two minutes of taking the tie to extra time before Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez swept home Cristiano Ronaldo's pass to give Madrid a 1-0 second leg win, and send Los Blancos through to the last four.

This was further Champions League heartbreak for Los Colchoneros, who had been seconds away from winning last season's competition, before Sergio Ramos headed a 93rd minute equaliser, and Real Madrid went on to win 4-1 in extra-time.

The Argentine coach told his post-game news conference that he could not ask more from his team than to compete so well at this elevated level of European club competition.

"I am happy for this squad," Simeone said. "The team had intensity, hard work and offered 90 minutes of effort. I feel absolutely identified with their work. I do not have any negative feeling. The club comes out of this reinforced, again being among the eight best in Europe.

"We are growing step by step, and we competed at the top level. When I was a boy, and played in the square, I went home happy if I lost, as long as I had given everything. I told the Atletico fans they should be proud of these players they have."

The questionable second yellow card shown to Turan by German referee Felix Brych for a high challenge had not decided the game, Simeone said, although he maintained that his team had been well in the game up until that point.

"It did not influence the result," he said. "I just say that, until that moment, we had done very well in the game."

His side had not been too timid in their approach against a Madrid side which was missing Luka Modric, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema through injury, Simeone said.

"[Madrid] began well, and had 10 very good minutes of play," he said. "Then the game was very even, and we were better positioned on the pitch, winning the majority of the duels."

Simeone said that young midfielder Saul Niguez, who was substituted at half-time after a poor first 45 minutes, would learn from his tough experience.

"This is pure experience for him," he said. "[Saul] is a player with great talent. He needs to go through these situations. He will be a great player."

Atletico, who won last year's La Liga title and reached the Champions League final, remained on course to achieve this season's objectives, Simeone said.

"[The objectives] were to win the Spanish Supercopa, and to finish third in La Liga," Simeone said.

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