Atletico Madrid is in the Champions League quarter-finals, but Koke fears that they could lose out on next season’s competition. Koke claims that Atletico Madrid’s 1-1 draw at Athletic Bilbao has hurt their Champions League qualification chances.
The 39th-minute goal of Diego Costa at the end of a clever Koke pass ensured the magnificent short-lived strike Iker Muniain gave Athletic for the first-half advantage.
Nevertheless, Atleti was unable to influence a full reversal when he drew a point-blank save from Unai Simon 10 minutes from time, with substitute Santiago Arias coming nearest to a winner.
It means Los Colcheneros have now won only one of their last 11 games away in LaLiga, with Sunday’s back-closed-door encounter in San Mames setting an unwanted club record for their season’s 13th draw.
After the draw pushed sixth-placed Atleti on points with Getafe and Real Sociedad, Koke told LaLiga TV, the latter taking on Osasuna at the late kick-off on Sunday, “I think it was a really good game. It was a difficult situation to be in. We haven’t taken our chances. We’ve got to struggle and embrace the draw. We want to be in the Champions League and we’ve got to get the points. From this position, it is difficult that we are in. We were better positioned around the pitch than we were then. After the first goal and a few minutes after finding the equalizer, we managed to change things. Santi had an opportunity to get us the win at the end.”
Ex-Atleti forward Raul Garcia inspired the hosts along with the strong Muniain and called off his team-mates as Costa hit back.
“We knew this was going to be a really hard game. There was a bit of talk about how the teams would return to the action in the league but we all went out to win the game. You usually relax a little bit after you’ve just scored and that’s what happened to us today. But we’ve got to take the positives. We’ve managed to contend against one of the league’s best teams and sadly we didn’t get three points,” he told LaLiga TV.
Copa del Rey finalists Athletic is 10th, five points behind Valencia in seventh, which is likely to be the last qualifying spot in the Europa League should they lose in the showpiece to rivals Sociedad.