MADRID: Atletico Madrid were hurt by their failure to beat Manchester United in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday (Feb 23) but coach Diego Simeone took consolation from his team's strong performance.
The Spanish side dominated a match they led from the seventh minute before Anthony Elanga's late goal earned the Premier League side a fortunate 1-1 draw.
"It hurts," Atletico defender Jose Maria Gimenez told a news conference. "We were better, very aggressive in the first half, played brilliantly, could have scored more goals. It is very disappointing not go out from a game like this with a win."
Simeone saw his team's display as more important than the result.
"After the group stage is over, you can win the Champions League only with draws," Simeone said, adding that the end of the away-goal rule made the result less damaging.
"We have to repeat many things from today's game. There are many positive things, it may look as if they have the advantage but nothing changed. It's like it all will begin from scratch in Old Trafford."
Atletico have struggled in their LaLiga title defence this season, sitting fifth in the standings 15 points behind Real Madrid.
"Good things like collective work, pressing up, defensive play... I liked how we competed. Very satisfied with the team's play," Simeone said.
The Argentine praised United for the quality of their goal which came 10 minutes from time when Bruno Fernandes released substitute Elanga to score with a composed finish.
"It was good play by them, mainly by Bruno Fernandes who showed great vision in one of the only imbalances that we had in the game," Simeone said.