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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Atlético's Champions League exit not due to lack of ambition - Saúl

Atletico's Champions League exit not due to lack of ambition, insists Saul

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Juventus dumped Atletico Madrid out of the Champions League on Tuesday, though Saul Niguez dismissed the idea the team lacked desire.

Saúl Ñíguez insists Atlético Madrid's Champions League exit at the hands of Juventus was not due to a lack of ambition.

Advantage overturned

Diego Simeone's men claimed a commendable 2-0 win at home in the first leg last month and that appeared to put them in the driving seat for a place in the last eight. But Juve rallied in Turin on Tuesday, as former Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick – the clincher coming via the penalty spot late on – to send the Serie A champions through 3-2 on aggregate.

Atlético were made to pay for a pragmatic performance in which they hardly threatened the Juventus goal, though Saúl is adamant their setup should not be confused with a perceived lack of desire.

"No, I don't think so," Saul told reporters when asked if Atlético were devoid of ambition. "I think Juventus have been better than us in different parts of the game.

Together in adversity

"Now, it's time to be together against the adversity and face everything that is coming, we deserve it.

"In the end, the things haven't gone the way we expected. I think they've been better than us, and we have to congratulate Juventus."

Juanfran added: "Everyone has been in the team for many years, we have a style of play.

"We don't change, we always try to give our best. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but we always have the desire to win. Things went wrong and that's it."