Simeone: Atletico must ´see the reality´ of Champions League struggles

Diego Simeone wants Atletico Madrid to “see the reality” of their Champions League struggles after their European campaign came to an end on Wednesday.

Atletico’s exit from the Champions League at the group stage was confirmed last week with a 2-2 home draw to Bayer Leverkusen.

The Rojiblancos still had the chance to claim a Europa League spot, but missed out on third place in Group B as they were beaten 2-1 by Porto.

Goals from Mehdi Taremi and Stephen Eustaquio put Porto in command, with a late Ivan Marcano own goal nothing more than scant consolation for Atletico.

Their defeat, combined with Bayer Leverkusen’s goalless draw with group runners-up Club Brugge, means it is the Bundesliga side who drop into the Europa League.

For Atletico, the focus is now solely on domestic matters and ensuring they at least qualify for next season’s Champions League, with the LaLiga title already looking a tall order.

Atletico, who are eight points behind LaLiga leaders Real Madrid, head out of Europe with just one win from six matches. They scored five goals and conceded nine, finishing bottom of a Champions League group for the first time in their history.

“What you see on the field, we saw everything, [Porto] were superior,” Simeone said at his post-match press conference.

“They had more speed, they had more intensity, they tracked back better, they had better positioning to win the second balls with a direct game, they came out very well from the initial pressures that we did, immediately the first two chances they had, they were clinical.

“When all this appears, we have to start trying to improve and see the reality that happened to us this year, especially in Europe, also last year when we went through to the last-16, we were braver, but already in the group stage last year it also cost us… we are struggling.

“We have to accept it and see how we can improve in Europe, because the numbers are not good, the numbers are bad. We conceded goals in almost every game, we scored very few and almost all the teams were better than us.”

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