Even with a 1-0 defeat against Sporting CP, Atlético Madrid advanced to another European semifinal thanks to a 2-1 aggregate win. Atlético now await the results of Friday’s draw, where they will learn their next opponent on the road to Lyon and the Europa League final.
After Thursday’s match, Diego Simeone and Koke explained what advancing means to them and how they felt the match went.
On the match:
“Of course I expected to suffer. Nowadays, nothing is easy. Sporting Clube de Portugal are a great rival. We could’ve scored two goals, but in the end we suffered to qualify for another European semifinal.
“The teams are increasingly competitive, strong at home, and any cup is difficult.
“Sporting played a great first half and I agree that we were tremendously inaccurate during that period.
“We’re very happy because once again, the team reinvented itself. Lucas and Diego Costa got injured and the team kept on playing with a massive amount of effort.”
On advancing to the semifinals:
“For Atlético fans, it’s an honour to be in another European semifinal.”
“We live with the reality and that is the Europa League. We play in it with enthusiasm.”
“I am very proud, because once again we are among the best in Europe. Last year it was the semifinals of the Champions League and this time the Europa League.”
On Sporting’s display:
“Sporting CP played a great match, especially in the first half. We’re very happy to advance to the semifinals. Nothing is easy in football.
“They wanted to be in the semis and we were expecting a Sporting that was going to start off strongly. We improved in the second half and had chances to score.
“Whoever we end up facing, we have to play a great knock-out round.”
On Jan Oblak’s key saves:
“Hopefully he can keep this up until the end of the season.
“If I was in charge of this club, I would give Oblak a blank check [for his renewal].”