Last updated 1 month ago | By Reuters
Atletico Madrid captain Koke said his side had been outplayed by RB Leipzig and deserved to lose Thursday's Champions League quarter-final 2-1 as Diego Simeone's men again fell short in Europe's top competition.
Atletico had knocked holders Liverpool out in the last 16 but were lacking the intensity and bloody-mindedness which usually characterises Simeone's side, who fell behind to a Dani Olmo header early in the second half.
"Leipzig were better than us and we have to congratulate them because they were faster than us and more intense than us," Koke told Spanish network Movistar.
Substitute Joao Felix equalised for Atletico from the spot but Tyler Adams' deflected strike late in the game restored Leipzig's lead and they clung on to earn a semi-final tie with Paris St Germain.
"Joao gave us a lot and created our goal and then just as we were looking at our best they got the second goal. But Leipzig deserved to win, now we have to reflect on what we did wrong in the game and rise again," Koke added.
Atletico have never won Europe's top prize despite reaching the finals in 1974, 2014 and 2016 and everything looked to be in their favour after they avoided the likes of Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Barcelona in the last eight draw.
But they showed little ambition against a superbly drilled Leipzig, who have more than made their mark in only their second appearance in Europe's elite competition, having beaten Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 on aggregate in the last 16.
"We feel hurt and disappointed," added Atletico midfielder Saul Niguez.
"We were very hopeful about this competition, our fans deserved more but it wasn't meant to be.
"They were better than us throughout the game and deserved it because of the way they approached the game and we didn't deserve to win because we didn't know how to react."