Saturday, December 4, 2021

Oblak still confident Atletico can reach Champions League last 16 despite Liverpool loss

SoccerNews in English Premier League 3 Nov 2021

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Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak remains confident the Spanish giants can still advance to the Champions League knockout stage, despite their hopes being dealt a blow following back-to-back defeats to Liverpool.

Atletico endured a night to forget at Anfield, where the LaLiga champions had Felipe sent off in the first half of Wednesday’s 2-0 loss against Liverpool, who progressed.

Beaten 3-2 in the reverse fixture in the Spanish capital, having also lost Antoine Griezmann to a red card on matchday three last month, Atletico conceded goals to Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane before Felipe was dismissed for a cynical foul on the latter and subsequent apparent dissent.

Atletico huffed and puffed but could not find their way back into the Group B contest, with the result leaving Diego Simeone’s men third and a point behind Porto for the second last-16 berth heading into the final two games.

“They scored two easy goals against us, which can’t happen,” Oblak told Movistar Plus. “After two goals like that, it’s difficult to come back, especially with a man less.

“So the feeling isn’t the best, but I do think the team fought. We did all we could. In the end we lost 2-0, but it’s still open [the group]. We depend on ourselves, and we have to win the two games to come.”

Atletico lost back-to-back Champions League group-stage games for only the second time under head coach Simeone, also doing so in November 2019.

The capital club also conceded two goals in the first half of consecutive Champions League games for the first time after 105 matches.

“Today, the two goals were too easy – we all know that, the whole team does. I don’t know what is happening,” said Oblak.

“We have to improve in this respect, and I am sure once we improve at the back, we’re going to have better results.

“This is difficult to explain; it’s the whole team, it’s not just one player but the whole team, and we all have to do better to concede as few goals as possible.”

Atletico host Milan on November 24 before travelling to Porto for their final group fixture on December 7.

Oblak added: “We depend on ourselves. We have to win the two games that remain. It won’t be easy – we all know that – and we have to give our best version of ourselves and do our best.

“With our quality, if we show it on the field, we can win the two games and get through to the last 16.”

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