Iniesta accepted his side FC Barcelona had only themselves to blame for crashing out of the Champions League against Atletico Madrid after failing to take their chances.
At the fifth time of asking, a match between Atlético Madrid and Barcelona finally produced a winner as Atlético Madrid advanced to the Champions League semifinals with a 1-0 victory over Barcelona in their second leg quarterfinal on Wednesday night at a boisterous and jam-packed Estadio Vicente Calderón, thus giving Atletico a 2-1 victory on aggregate.
A sixth minute Koke goal proved to be the difference as Atlético will play in their first European Cup/Champions League semifinal since 1974.
And Iniesta has now set his sights on overhauling Atleti at the top of La Liga, while also pointing to Wednesday’s Copa del Rey final with rivals Real Madrid as an ideal opportunity to bounce back.
“Atletico deserved to go through because they took advantage of their chances,” the 29-year-old told Barcelona’s official website.
“Like in the first 20 minutes, they pressured us and they took advantage. We tried to score until the end of the game.
“The Champions League is a very good competition and it’s a shame that we didn’t make the semi-finals.
“There aren’t many league games left to win the title and we have a final in Granada this weekend and then on Wednesday in the cup.”
In whole 90 minutes of play, Barcelona were simply unable to break down Simeone’s men as a home side lifted by their vocal supporters raised their arms in triumph at the sound of the final whistle with dreams of a Champions League and La Liga double still very much intact.
Martino: “The players were brave”
Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino commented in his post-match press conference that his men “were brave. We were brave in that we tried to play like Barça have for the past decade. Playing like this is brave.” When asked about the game against Atlético, Martino said that “the flow of the game was what they (Atlético) were looking for” and “it’s not that we didn’t match their intensity, it’s that we were unable to string 4-5 passes together like we wanted to.”
When asked about Leo Messi’s performance, the manager said, “we wanted Messi to engage in one-on-ones with his defender on the right wing. He didn’t have a lot of participation, but he did have two goal-scoring chances. We didn’t base our whole game plan on Messi’s position, we also had Cesc, Neymar and Iniesta.”
Finally, when asked about the morale of his men, Martino said that “the team isn’t doing well now. We will move forward in the Liga and the Cup. The most important thing is to continue competing, we have a decisive game in Granada and next Wednesday we have the Cup final.”