Griezmann delighted as Atletico returns to Champions League knockouts

Atletico Madrid missed out on the Champions League knockouts last season, so Antoine Griezmann was thrilled to progress this term.

Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann   -  Getty Images

Antoine Griezmann feels Atletico Madrid has made amends for last season's disappointing Champions League campaign after reaching the last 16 with a win over AS Monaco.

Diego Simeone's side finished third in its group in 2017-18, behind Roma and Chelsea, after winning only one of its six matches.

Although it went on to win the Europa League, Griezmann admits Atleti felt compelled to qualify for the knockout round of Europe's top competition this season, which the side did on Tuesday thanks to a 2-0 win at the Wanda Metropolitano.

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"That was the most important thing: to be in the last 16, after last year, and that's what we've managed," Griezmann, who scored his side's second goal, told Movistar.

"We still have a game left to know if we'll be top. Plus, on a personal level, I'm happy and enjoying my football," he added.

Atleti seemed to drop their intensity in the second half against Thierry Henry's youthful side and they were fortunate to escape unpunished after Stefan Savic was sent off for a second yellow card, with Radamel Falcao missing the resulting penalty against his former club.

"It's true that we relaxed and when that happens anyone can hurt you," Griezmann accepted. "But we have to focus on having played a great game, which we did."

Savic was first booked for an elbow on Andrea Raggi, which should perhaps have earned him a straight red card, but he received his marching orders after he was judged to have blocked Youri Tielemans' shot with his hand.

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Griezmann was unclear at the time if the decision was correct and thinks VAR is needed in the competition to clear up such incidents.

"I didn't see it clearly; that's why we didn't protest," he added. "VAR in the Champions League will end these things."

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