Saul Niguez does not believe that Atletico Madrid’s run to the Champions League final last season will impair them this time out.
The Spanish champions kick off their last-16 tie against Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday, but while the midfielder was wary of the threat posed by the Bundesliga outfit, he was confident in his side’s ability to go far in the competition once more.
“The team are eager to return this competition and feeling excited,” the 20-year-old told reporters.
“We’ll face [Bayer Leverkusen] with humility because Bayer are very competitive and will make life very difficult for us.
“Playing in the Champions League gives me a tremendous joy. It’s very important to play in Champions League wearing the Atletico jersey.
“Furthermore coming from below. Hopefully we continue going knockout see if we can do something important."
“We know how to play Bayer. They may leave spaces behind and we can exploit them. It’ll be difficult to get the ball off them, but we know how to play.
“I don’t think [being runners-up last season] puts more pressure on us. This is a new Champions League campaign and we have to compete from the first minute. It’s a very difficult tie.
“It’s important to keep a clean sheet and score because away goals count for much.”