Diego Simeone not concerned about player exits after Champions League elimination
By Gerard Brand at Stamford Bridge
Last Updated: 06/12/17 7:50am
Diego Simeone is not concerned about his key Atletico Madrid players leaving after elimination from the Champions League.
Atletico, who were finalists in 2014 and 2016, missed out on the last 16 having finished third in Group C following a 1-1 draw at Chelsea on Tuesday.
Atletico will now drop into the Europa League in the new year, but Simeone says this could be a new challenge for his squad.
Asked if he was worried about players wanting to leave in January or the summer, Simeone said: "No, on the contrary, I think this could be a new challenge. Everything that is bad, we make it into a positive.
"I wouldn't say it was a failure, because we knew this could happen. I think a failure is when you have an objective and you don't reach it, and we knew this could happen, so it is not a failure for us.
"I think the team has shown that we never give up, and we have a long season ahead, we will see what happens at the end of the season."
The draw means Atletico drop into the Europa League from the Champions League group stage for the first time since 2009/10, when they went on to win Europe's second-tier competition.
Simeone was positive about his side's exit, and said he will now be focusing all of his attention to the long season ahead.
"It doesn't hurt, because this is football. We've managed to get more points from the team which finished top of the group than the team which finished bottom.
"It is difficult to explain, but from now on we are just going to concentrate on what is coming, whether it be the Europa League, Copa del Rey or La Liga.
"Football is like this, it doesn't depend on tactics, possession and stats, at the end of the day what is important is to be decisive, and you need to score.
"But in my opinion the team is well, we have only lost one game and it was in the last minute, but no excuses. We need to carry on with the season and be valued at the end of the season."
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