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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Oct 19, 2008

Aguirre hopes to rediscover form against Reds

Atletico Madrid coach Javier Aguirre is targeting this week's Champions League clash with Liverpool as an opportunity to restore some pride in the wake of two morale-sapping Primera Liga defeats.

Atletico go into the Liverpool match with a 100% from their opening two Champions League games, but it has not been such an enjoyable time in La Liga recently for the Rojiblancos.

In their last two outings Atletico have been thrashed 6-1 by Barcelona and then on Saturday night suffered an agonising last-gasp 2-1 defeat at home to bitter rivals Real Madrid.

Atletico do not have long to wait for a chance to get those results out of their system, though, as on Wednesday they welcome Liverpool to the Vicente Calderon.

Aguirre said of that game: "Now we have to close the chapter on La Liga for a moment and focus on Champions League.

"We'll have to get the team up for it and get everyone ready so that on Wednesday we'll be stuck into the competition and can give some joy to our fans who have supported us through the 90 minutes (against Real)."

For the second successive year Atletico could barely have started the derby against Real in worse fashion.

Last season Real captain Raul opened the scoring in this corresponding fixture after 48 seconds, while this time his strike partner Ruud van Nistelrooy managed it with an effort that was even quicker.

Atletico looked to have salvaged a point though when Simao Sabrosa curled home a free-kick in the 89th minute, but there was still time for Real to win a penalty and Gonzalo Higuain stepped up to settle the derby deep into injury-time.

"We conceded a goal in the third minute 15 days ago (against Barca) and in the first in this one, when my watch showed 39 seconds," said Aguirre.

"It's neither normal nor logical, but it happens. It's clear that these circumstances are worrying because we make the matches an uphill battle for ourselves, especially when afterwards the opponent doesn't let you control the clock and we're paying for it dearly."

He added: "It's very cruel to concede a goal in the opening minute and another in the 96th.

"I think that it was a vibrant game, open, and we overcame our difficulties. Without doubt we played better in the second half than in the first half.

"The team slowly began to find itself bit by bit and we celebrated Simao's deservedly because we felt that it was fair.

"However, football never ceases to surprise you and this match puts us in a serious problems regarding results."

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