Atletico coach still confident after Schalke loss

August 14, 2008

Atletico Madrid coach Javier Aguirre is confident his side will still qualify for the Champions League group stages despite seeing them slump to a 1-0 defeat against Schalke in the first leg of their third qualifying round tie.

Atletico, playing in the competition for the first time in over a decade, were left with an uphill battle for the return match later this month after going down to Christian Pander's first-half free-kick in an encounter that also saw the Spanish side lose Antonio Lopez to a red card.

Aguirre refused to press the panic button after the defeat though, and promised a different performance in Spain where he expects Atletico to make it through.

'It's not the best result. We had the intention of scoring but it was not to be,' said Aguirre.

'But there are still 90 minutes left. The next game will be very different and will be played in different circumstances. We will play in front of our fans and in the Vicente Calderon. We are sure that we can get through.

'We have to have patience and take advantage of our chances.'

With regards to Lopez`s sending-off, which came 14 minutes from time when the defender earned a second yellow for a foul on Jermaine Jones, Aguirre said: 'In the first leg of the Copa del Rey with Valencia and in the UEFA Cup tie with Bolton we also had a player sent-off. We have to learn, think and be intelligent.

'We cannot always finish with a man less. We have picked up a lot of cards here,' added the Atletico coach, who saw five of his players booked aside from Lopez.