LNTUP

Diego Simeone focussing on regaining Rojiblancos’ lost pride

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Atletico Madrid are in serious pressure for qualification in the round of 16 of Champions League.And they will have a make-or-break game of Group C this week.

Atletico have just two points and one goal from their first three Group C outings — a 0-0 draw in Roma, 1-2 defeat at home to Chelsea and a 0-0 draw at Qarabag a fortnight ago — results which have seriously endangered the 2014 and 2016 finalists’ chances of making this year’s last 16.

Coach Diego Simeone admits that his team cannot drop any points further in the tournament.Chelsea and and Roma being two big competitors in the group,they will have to make the most out of the final three fixtures.

Unless the 2014 and 2016 finalist resurrect their game,the coach believes that the Rojiblancos might be the victims of their own success.

Sitting third in the group,they have to snatch an easy victory against Qarabag keeping no stoned unturned to exploit every option possible to fetch those points.

Roma will have to atleast lose one game and Athletico on the other hand have to win their match with atleast 3 goal difference.Only then both will have same points with the Madrid side taking second spot.Win against Roma along with today’s victory can seal a second spot for them too.

The Argentine coach admits his squad’s vulnerability and also is determined to get back their lost strength.

He said: ‘Our success in the last few years in all competitions means that if we don’t get an excellent result there’s criticism, but we need to live with that if we want to achieve excellence.

‘We have a responsibility tomorrow. It’s an important match for the club, the fans, the players, me.

‘We’ll play it knowing this. We want to do well and carry on growing and will go into it like that.’

Atletico, La Liga champions under Simeone in 2013-14, already trail league leaders Barcelona by eight points with another title push looking increasingly remote.

They trained at their old Vicente Calderon stadium on Monday night ahead of the match with Qarabag at their new Wanda Metropolitano home.

Simeone added: ‘The boss is always responsible for what happens on the pitch. I’m not shirking any of that.

‘We haven’t started that well in the Champions League. We deserved to win in Rome and Chelsea were very good here.