Diego Simeone insists Atletico Madrid’s Champions League exit is not the end of an era but a new beginning.
Atleti suffered their first group-stage elimination from the Champions League under Simeone on Tuesday, but despite them dropping into the Europa League, Simeone described it as “a new challenge and source of enthusiasm” for his side.
“It hurts because of how wonderful football can be,” the Coach said after the 1-1 draw with Chelsea.
“We’ve been eliminated after picking up more points from the top team than the bottom! We won’t look for excuses and take responsibility.
“The game against Qarabag, hitting the target 10 times without scoring, is difficult to explain.
“Still, I’m left with the feeling, beyond this bad situation, that the team will compete for the League, Copa and Europa League.
“Football is more than tactics, possession and set-pieces. We weren’t ruthless enough and we paid for that.
“Still, the team are competitive, we only lost one game and it was in the 93rd minute. They’re not excuses, it’s reality, but there’s still a lot of the season left and we’ll be judged on what we do at the end of the season.
“Motivation for the Europa League? It’s the same when we play in a friendly, the Copa, the Supercopa…
“Playing with Atletico’s jersey is enough motivation. We don’t need the title of a competition.
“Failure? No, it was a situation that could happen. Failure is when you don’t fulfil something that you think you can
“There’s still a long way to go and we’re fine, even if it’s difficult to say that we are when we’re out of the Champions League.
“End of a cycle? No. On the contrary, this has opened up a new challenge and source of enthusiasm for us to keep fighting. Everything that’s bad is good for us.”