Costa: Atletico 'deserve' qualification
Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa has admitted the club ‘deserved’ their place in the last-16 of the Champions League.
Atletico cruised into the knockout stages of the competition with a comfortable 4-0 victory over Austria Wien.
The result also means that the Spanish club will continue in the competition as Group G winners after Porto and Zenit St Petersburg played out a 1-1 draw.
“We knew it was very important to win today because of the result between Zenit and Porto,” Costa told UEFA.
“The team was great today and we deserved to reach the round of 16."
Meanwhile, Atletico coach Diego Simeone said he was ‘happy’ that his team have progressed to the next round.
“I'm happy with the work of the team, because we took our opportunity to reach the first knockout round today,” he told UEFA.
“I'm satisfied because the team played a great match. We scored the first goal at the perfect time and so could ease off a little in the second half. My players forgot the pressure to win and decided the issue in the first half.
“It's always important to work on free-kicks in training and we profited from that preparation in this match.
“Now we will play against two great teams in Zenit and Porto with an element of calm, because we don't have to fight to get through to the next round.”
And Simeone hinted that he may rotate the squad for the club’s final two group matches, hoping to give playing time to the bulk of his squad.
“In our next group games we can give playing time to other players because they deserve it,” Simeone continued. “The team is growing, chances keep coming and that gives more opportunities for our forwards to score.
“We are taking things match by match in the Spanish Liga and we have the same philosophy in the UEFA Champions League, knowing our chances.”