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

By Sports Desk November 03, 2021

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."

Related items

  • Ronaldo 'doesn't have time' to be part of Man Utd project, says Nani Ronaldo 'doesn't have time' to be part of Man Utd project, says Nani

    Cristiano Ronaldo "does not have time" to stick around for another season at Manchester United, according to former team-mate Nani.

    Portugal international Ronaldo is reportedly seeking a move away from United just under a year after returning to the club from Juventus.

    However, a lack of viable options – with Chelsea and Bayern Munich said to have rejected the chance to sign him – has left the 37-year-old superstar in a tricky situation.

    Ronaldo's complicated situation has only been exacerbated following United's opening home defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion and a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Brentford.

    With United undergoing another rebuild under new manager Erik ten Hag, ex-United winger Nani can understand why his compatriot is looking to leave.

    "Times change and the reactions and attitude can change as well," Nani said on Rio Ferdinand's Vibe with Five podcast.

    "But, as we see, he's doing the same things as usual. He doesn't like to lose and he reacts when the team is not doing well. The only difference is that it's different times. 

    "He's playing again at Man United, but he's been all over the world doing well at different teams with different players.

    "He's in a team where the manager is trying to build a strong team, and it's not easy, it takes time. Cristiano doesn't have time to lose on building teams or waiting for next season. 

    "He wants to continue to be at the top, scoring goals, being the man. That's why the reaction is normal. We all have the wrong reactions sometimes."

    Ronaldo was recalled to United's starting line-up for the defeat to Brentford and had six shots, twice as many as any other player on the field, without finding the net.

    With their latest dismal defeat, United have started a Premier League campaign with back-to-back losses for the first time since the competition's inaugural campaign in 1992-93.

    Stretching back into last season, the Red Devils have now lost four successive league games for the first time since February 1979.

    Nani, who won four Premier League titles and the Champions League during his seven full seasons with United, has hit out at the attitude of the club's current crop of players.

    "I don't like to talk too much. I don't talk about players, but you can see there is no hunger, there is no attitude or desire to win in the club," he said.

    "You have a lot of talented players, but they don't want to get tired. If I had to get sweaty to win, I would. They prefer to not sweat.

    "You have talented players in the team with a lot of skills. They can shoot with their right foot and left, but the last game, no one was shooting at goal, everyone was passing."

  • Lakers podcaster backs extension for 'GOAT' LeBron James Lakers podcaster backs extension for 'GOAT' LeBron James

    The Los Angeles Lakers have tied down the immediate future of the greatest player of all time in LeBron James, according to Lakers podcaster Anthony Irwin.

    James has agreed a two-year contract extension with the Lakers worth a whopping $97.1million, it was reported by ESPN on Wednesday, citing Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul.

    The 37-year-old had been entering the final year of a contract worth $44.5m. His new deal apparently includes a player option for the 2024-25 season.

    Last season, James played 56 games overall, averaging 30.3 points per game, only the second time he has averaged over 30 in a single campaign (31.4 PPG for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2005-06). 

    He averaged 8.2 rebounds per game, 6.2 assists and hit a career-high season average of 2.9 three-pointers and 8.0 attempts per game.

    James also became the first player in NBA history to record more than 10,000 career points, rebounds and assists.

    Speaking to Stats Perform, Irwin said he lists James ahead of Michael Jordan and former Laker Kareem Abdul-Jabbar when it comes to judging the best player of all time.

    "I have him as the greatest ever, in my book," he said. "Now, we're splitting hairs anytime you're talking about him and Michael and Kareem, who for some reason is never like involved in the conversation in ways that I think he should be.

    "The league is more competitive I think now than it was when Michael was playing. I think you have to take that into account.

    "If you have Michael as your GOAT (greatest of all time)? Cool. If you have LeBron as your GOAT? Cool. If you have Kareem is your GOAT? Super cool, because I would love to hear the people who make that case.

    "Anybody who tries to act as if those three guys don't have a case to be made, those are the people that I find myself rolling my eyes at."

    Irwin – who hosts Lakers podcasts on Silver Screen and Roll – was pleased with the reported agreement between the organisation and James, believing it could make things easier for the Lakers as they look to move Russell Westbrook on.

    "It's good that all parties came to the conclusion that they couldn't have this loom over the season or training camp," Irwin added. "I think if LeBron was going to continue his relationship with the Lakers, they had to either announce an exit strategy or announce an extension. Fortunately, they came to the latter decision.

    "The other part of this that I find interesting is obviously everybody knows they've been trying to trade Russell Westbrook.

    "One source of leverage that other teams might have had on the Lakers as they tried to do that was 'You have to trade Russell Westbrook, you have to appease Lebron James. Otherwise, he's not going to sign that extension.' And you have that awkward relationship carrying forward into the season.

    "Now, that's not something that other teams have. So this helps the Lakers, I think, accomplish their goal of not just moving Westbrook but not overpaying to do so. And hopefully bringing some legitimate help back in return."

  • Rumour Has It: Atletico Madrid reject Man Utd's club-record £110m bid for Joao Felix Rumour Has It: Atletico Madrid reject Man Utd's club-record £110m bid for Joao Felix

    Manchester United are under pressure to make some signings amid their poor start to the new Premier League season.

    The Red Devils have lost their opening two league games under new boss Erik ten Hag.

    United have only brought in a few players this off-season and are in need for reinforcements.

     

    TOP STORY – MAN UTD DECLINED BY ATLETICO IN JOAO FELIX BID

    Atletico Madrid have rejected a bumper £110million (€130m) bid from Manchester United for Portuguese forward Joao Felix, claims AS.

    Atleti have reportedly inserted a staggering €350m (£295m) release clause in the 22-year-old's contract.

    United's reported bid is a club record, £25m more than the fee they paid Juventus for Paul Pogba in 2016.

    ROUND-UP

    United want to sign five more players this transfer window reports the Telegraph and have a shortlist of potential signings with Borussia Dortmund's Thomas Meunier, Chelsea winger Christian Pulisic, Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro, Lazio's Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Barcelona's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Everton goalkeeper Asmir Begovic is also on their radar to provide a back-up to David de Gea.

    Paris Saint-Germain have not given up in a pursuit of Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva and are plotting a €71m (£59m) move for him, according to The Times.

    Napoli are closing in on a deal to sign Sassuolo's 22-year-old forward Giacomo Raspadori reports Calciomercato. It is claimed he will join Napoli by the end of the week.

    Nottingham Forest's busy window continues with the newly promoted Premier League club chasing Madrid right-back Alvaro Odriozola, according to AS.

    Brighton and Hove Albion want a permanent move for Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour, reports the Daily Mail. 

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.