Atletico Madrid pair Koke and Saul Niguez were pragmatic following their Champions League quarter final exit at the hands of RB Leipzig.
Goals from Spanish international Dani Olmo and Tyler Adams, either side of a Joao Felix penalty, secured a 2-1 win for Julian Nagelsmann’s side in a pulsating battle in Lisbon.
It was a clash of styles between Diego Simeone’s side and Nagelsmann’s impressive youngsters, led by Dayot Upamecano and Olmo, and Koke and Niguez conceded they lost to a better side.
“They were better and more intense throughout the whole game. We have to congratulate them for that,” Koke told a post-match interview with El Chiringuito.
“We had a lot of hopes of winning the Champions League, however, they were better tonight. But we will recover and come back from this.”
Koke’s comments were echoed by Niguez, who admitted Leipzig had more energy in the key stages of the tie.
“It hurts to lose, but our rivals were better in the game. They raised the tempo and we did not know how to react,” Niguez told his own interview.
“They were superior to us, and at times we were not even close to stopping them.”
Atletico’s poor recent run in the Champions League knockout stages has been extended for another season, with just a sole semi-final appearance in the last five seasons.
Leipzig will now face Paris Saint-Germain in the last four on August 18, with Barcelona or Bayern Munich taking on either Manchester City or Lyon in the other semi-final.