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Coach Javier Aguirre believes Club Atlético de Madrid have proved they are "one of the best teams in Europe" by qualifying for the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League with both an unbeaten record and a match to spare in Group D. Progress was sealed with a 3-1 victory against PSV Eindhoven in a game played behind closed doors at the Vicente Calderón. Opposite number Huub Stevens could not take comfort from an improved second-half showing, as "the ship was already sunk" in the opening 45 minutes when they went 2-0 down, leaving them in a battle with Olympique de Marseille for a UEFA Cup spot.
Javier Aguirre, Atlético coach
It was important that we started well after several years out of Europe, and the team has now taken another big step with tonight's result. Atlético are now one of the best teams in Europe, and we deserve to be here every year. I'm very proud of my players. When we won at Schalke 04 in the third qualifying round, we said that we should go on to reach the first knockout round, and here we are. People can be proud of this team because they're battling in the Champions League and are doing it very well. Our group was very tough. Five matches ago nobody would have bet on us, but now we're through and I hope it won't end there.
Huub Stevens, PSV coach
There's no way I can be satisfied when you look at how we gave the goals away in the first half. The way we started the second half, showing the right attitude and playing a bit more football, makes you think you could turn things around ... but the ship was already sunk by the mistakes we made when conceding two goals. I'm disappointed and angry with the way we lost, as it wasn't necessary. The boys realise all too well themselves that they failed in the first half, and will be just as disappointed and angry as me that they made those mistakes. With a good result against Liverpool we still have a chance to qualify for the UEFA Cup. For PSV at the moment this is a tough group, and it would be a huge step if we could finish in third.
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