After his team were beaten 3-0 at Real Madrid in Tuesday’s Champions League semifinal first leg, Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone said his team were still capable of doing the “impossible” and reaching the final.
Atletico were a shadow of their usual battling selves as Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat trick put Los Blancos in full control of the tie and means that, barring a highly unlikely turnaround, Simeone’s side will exit the competition to their neighbours for a fourth-successive year.
The usually fired-up Colchoneros coach looked resigned as he told a short postmatch news conference at the Bernabeu that it was “very, very difficult” for his team to come back, but they would give it a go in Wednesday’s second leg at the Vicente Calderon.
“Football is marvellous as unexpected things happen sometimes,” Simeone said. “I still think we have a chance. We need to recover and play our [La Liga] game on Saturday, forget about this for now.
“It is very, very difficult, but football has these things. Until the last drop of possibility we have we will play for it, no doubt about that.”
Real dominated most of the first 45 minutes, with Ronaldo heading them in front midway through the first half. Atletico then had more possession after the break, but created very little and were twice punished by the Portugal captain’s excellent finishing as more space opened up in their defence.
Simeone claimed his team had actually been well in the game for long periods, and lamented Atletico striker Kevin Gameiro being denied by Keylor Navas with the game at 1-0.
“The first half was pretty imprecise for both teams, there was always a sense of danger but we were not able to advance in the moves we found,” he said. “They found the goal then we had a chance through Gameiro that Navas did very well to save.
“The second half we had the ball, but could not create chances, and with spaces they are dangerous obviously and did us a lot of damage by finishing the chances that they had.”
The Atleti boss did admit that Madrid were better over the 90 minutes, but repeated that his team were capable of pulling off what would be an “impossible” comeback.
“Today they were the better team, above all, in how well they took their chances,” he said. “So I must congratulate them. Now we go to sleep, to rest, and think about an important game on Saturday [at home to Eibar].
“Then we will go for the chance we have, no matter how small it is. I feel relaxed, more than anything else, more than ever. We will try for something impossible, as we are Atletico Madrid, we are capable of doing it.”
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