Club Atlético de Madrid midfielder José Manuel Jurado was downcast after APOEL FC held his side to a 0-0 draw, conceding that he and his team-mates "all thought we were going to win".
Abel Resino's side were expected to make a winning start in Group D against the Cypriot champions, yet after a bright opening by the visitors and a string of fine saves from goalkeeper Dionisios Chiotis the local supporters left for home frustrated. "We had a lot of chances to win that match but our opponents and the desperation we were feeling towards the end really began to weigh us down," Jurado explained. "We knew that even though they aren't a team that is well known at this level they would be tough to beat, but we still all thought we were going to win."
Things began very differently for Los Colchoneros at the same stage a year ago when they opened their first UEFA Champions League challenge in 12 years with a 3-0 win at PSV Eindhoven. That campaign eventually ended in the first knockout round stage with defeat by FC Porto – Atlético's next Group D opponents. "We've got a point on the board and we must fight on and make sure our heads don't drop," the 23-year-old Jurado insisted. "We might not be able to draw too many conclusions from tonight's game but we know we have to improve in the matches to come. I think the problems we're having now will all be resolved with a couple of wins."
Team-mate Álvaro Domínguez, meanwhile, was full of praise for the visitors. "They stood up to us out there and we couldn't get past them," the young full-back explained. "Everyone thought this was going to be easy but they showed they are a very tightly knit unit. In the second half we lacked that bit of luck that would have won us the game." Having now failed to win any of their last three games in all competitions, it may not be an opportune time to face league champions FC Barcelona, but Domínguez remained confident that things would change ahead of Saturday's trip to Camp Nou. "The team is hurting right now but we're professionals and we'll get through this. I'm certain that we can get something out of the Liga game with Barça."
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