AC Milan may have lost 1-0 at home to Club Atlético de Madrid but the defeat is far from terminal as captain Kaká and his team-mates target a turnaround in the Spanish capital.
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AC Milan captain Kaká admits the Rossoneri were left with a bitter taste in the mouth after Wednesday's 1-0 home defeat by Club Atlético de Madrid – but remains confident ahead of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 return leg in Spain. "We will have to beat a great team but looking at our performance tonight I think we have a good chance of doing it," he told UEFA.com.
Kaká, Milan forward
Of course we were left with a bitter taste in our mouths, because we gave a very good performance, with the right spirit. Unfortunately, we did not manage to score. We created a lot of chances so we are disappointed, but also confident we can still secure qualification in Madrid.
When I hit the bar in the first half? In that moment, I saw the ball connect really well so I thought it was going in. Instead it hit the bar and soon after [Andrea] Poli's header struck the post as well. If we had scored from one of those occasions, the match would have been different.
[Thibaut Courtois] is an excellent goalkeeper and Atlético are a very strong team. They are doing extremely well in the Spanish Liga, they are top alongside two extraordinary teams in Barcelona and Real Madrid. So they have proved they are a quality side. In my opinion, the qualification is still open, even if I admit it will be very difficult. We must win in Madrid, against a great team like Atlético, but looking at our display tonight I think we have a good chance of doing it.
Andrea Poli, Milan midfielder
We all played really well and were punished the only time we lost focus. Now, however, we know we can do well and compete at the same level as a team like Atlético – because tonight we played better than them. We want to qualify, we are angry about the result and we will use this feeling to play a great game in Madrid.
Courtois did really well with my header but we had more than one chance to score. We were very united on the pitch and I think we did not give them any opportunities until their goal. We played at high tempo for at least 70 minutes, we are disappointed but I think we can still qualify.
Adel Taarabt, Milan midfielder
I will give everything I can for our coach to repay the faith he has in me. Tonight he wanted me to push forward but also to contribute defensively, and I tried to do this as well as I could. My position is not important, as long as I'm on the pitch. We did not deserve to lose, but unfortunately they scored late on. That's all that matters. It won't be easy to win in Madrid, but we must be confident because qualification is not lost yet. If we play like we did tonight, we can still make it.