Shakespeare backs Atletico Madrid to win the Champions League

Craig Shakespeare backed Atletico Madrid to win the Champions League just after Diego Simeone’s side knocked out his Leicester City team 2-1 on aggregate within the quarter-finals on Tuesday.
Saul Niguez gave Atletico the lead around the night – extending their 1-0 benefit in the first leg – but Jamie Vardy scored to level the match and spark intense pressure on the LaLiga giants, but the visitors survived to progress for the semi-finals for the third time in four years.
Shakespeare felt Atletico’s high-quality showed over the course on the two matches because the Premier League champions exited after a pair of hard-fought battles.
“Their history speaks for itself,” Shakespeare stated at his post-match news conference. “Finalists in two on the last three years and we knew what kind of challenge to expect. Following the initial leg we felt we were within the tie and we had a ideal go but eventually we’ve just failed in the final hurdle.
“I think they’ve been unfortunate within the last few years and we are able to see the quality they’ve in both games. They will be tough opponents within the semi-finals but I do not see any explanation why they cannot win it.
“We are disappointed to go out, but I am immensely proud in the team and I believed we ran a great group close and gave them a definitely fantastic shot at it. The players is usually immensely proud of their overall performance but in the end they are incredibly disappointed to go out.”
A tactical switch with two half-time substitutions practically turned the game about for Leicester and Shakespeare hopes a taste of European football pushes his players to qualify for the Champions League again within the future.
“We had planned it [the adjust to three in the back] in advance, but I hadn’t anticipated to do it that early,” the manager added. “I in fact thought we played all right in the initial half but we needed to be far more of a threat in their half and specifically in front of objective.
“We spoke about playing direct and playing Jamie and Riyad [Mahrez] just off Leo [Ulloa] and obtaining wing-backs. We worked on it in coaching but I didn’t anticipate to perform it that early. I thought the players’ attitude to create it work was first class and within the second half we got the goal but could not get the breaks to score additional.
“I hope the benefit of that is they want some additional [European football]. They are quite disappointed in there however they may be proud of what they have accomplished. They should want a lot more of this mainly because all players would like to play at the highest level, but we’ve to acquire back to winning techniques within the Premier League now.”