Diego Simeone does not care what Atletico Madrid's fans think of him following their Champions League exit, insisting he is only focused on the future.

The Rojiblancos crashed out of Europe's premier club competition with 2-2 draw against Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday, in which Yannick Carrasco missed a late penalty.

Third-placed Atleti also trail LaLiga leaders Real Madrid by eight points ahead of a trip to Cadiz on Saturday.

While Simeone acknowledges he needs a response from his side this weekend, the Atleti head coach does not concern himself with the opinions of supporters over his future.

"I feel that we have to play a great game tomorrow, that we have to continue working and giving everything since we arrived," he stated.

"I don't think about anything other than what lies ahead. 'I don't care what they think of me,' said a great Spanish writer, I think the same. This does not end today."

Simeone says his players must not dwell on their Champions League failure.

"Everything goes ahead," he added. "I still think that the team is doing well, finding what identifies us in the game and being strong."

The Argentine would not be drawn on video footage of Joao Felix that appeared to show the Portugal international partying in the aftermath of the Leverkusen game.

"I have nothing to say about his private life," he added. "If I have something to say I would say it to him. I'm not talking about anyone. They are internal things."

Christophe Galtier says Paris Saint-Germain will not "break" their front three of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Lionel Messi if they do not have to.

The trio have helped fire the Ligue 1 champions to a superb start to the season despite continued noise around Mbappe's future.

Former Barcelona duo Neymar and Messi have both returned to top form, with 22 and 23 goal involvements respectively.

Ahead of this weekend's encounter with Troyes, Galtier acknowledged a hectic schedule could force a reshuffle in attack, but he hopes all three superstars will be fit to feature again.

"It's their state of fatigue that will judge whether they play," the coach said. "They have scored 40 goals out of 50 for us this season, so it won't be based on their state of form.

"When we have this dynamic, we don't break it, we maintain it. The medical staff have done an excellent job in recent weeks. They are fine. When there is this dynamic, it is maintained."

A midweek Champions League rout against Maccabi Haifa, where the Mbappe, Neymar and Messi netted a combined five goals in a 7-2 win, ensured PSG head into next week's final Group H fixture guaranteed of progression to the knockout stages.

But whether they are seeded or not depends on their result with Juventus, with Galtier recognising the need to strike a balance between domestic and European commitments.

"We have an obligation to win against Troyes," he added. "There will also be a lot at stake in the middle of the week in Turin. Over the duration of the match, there is the possibility of involving other players."

Xavi has called on Barcelona to "turn the page" after their Champions League disappointment as he still believes they can deliver a "great season".

The Blaugrana were eliminated from Europe's elite club competition in midweek, with Inter's victory over Viktoria Plzen sealing their fate even before a 3-0 home defeat to Bayern Munich.

Barca paid the price for taking only a point from their double-header against Inter, who followed Bayern into the last 16.

The Catalan giants had invested heavily in the transfer market – despite their financial difficulties – to try to ensure there would be no repeat of last season's group-stage exit, but Xavi's side still fell short.

However, sitting second in LaLiga and only three points behind leaders, champions and rivals Real Madrid, the Barca coach is ready to retrain his focus on a successful domestic campaign.

"In the Champions League, we have made our assessments, [about] what we have lacked but also that we had it in our hands," Xavi said before Saturday's game against Valencia.

"Now it's time to turn the page. Tomorrow is one of those moments in the season to react."

He added: "I'm still positive. It's been a blow, but we can have a great season. There are many titles left.

"In LaLiga, we are in a good dynamic against strong rivals. It is another test to show a reaction and pride."

With Barca already certain to fall into the Europa League before the Bayern match, Xavi suggested "the psychological part weighed a lot".

Failure in Europe will surely increase pressure on the coach's position, but he confirmed he had spoken to president Joan Laporta to analyse what had gone wrong.

"With the president, we talk continuously, practically for every game," Xavi said. "We see each other after the games. The diagnosis is clear: there are things that have not depended on us, and we must improve those things that do depend on us."

He added: "I think in Munich we saw a good Barca, this one also against Villarreal, Athletic, Real Sociedad, Sevilla; I think you are seeing things.

"I want to believe that we are on the way. I've experienced it as a footballer: we can't get off track. And if we don't arrive [at the best level], another coach will come."

Todd Boehly's quotes when announcing Graham Potter as Chelsea's new head coach last month said much about his burgeoning reputation.

Having dispensed with the services of one of just two men to bring the Champions League trophy to Stamford Bridge in Thomas Tuchel, Boehly described Potter as a "proven innovator in the Premier League", and someone with "skills and capabilities that extend beyond the pitch".

Potter certainly had big shoes to fill, but it has been a case of so far, so good for the Blues boss.

Nine games into his tenure, Potter has yet to suffer defeat, leading Chelsea to fifth place in the Premier League and into the Champions League's last 16 ahead of Saturday's return to Brighton and Hove Albion.

Ahead of Potter's reunion with the Seagulls, Stats Perform reflects on his coaching journey and asks whether his strong start with Chelsea represents a sign of things to come.



From humble beginnings: Potter's stunning journey at Ostersunds

When Potter – whose modest playing career saw him feature in each of the top five tiers of English football – made an unconventional move to Sweden in 2011, few would have expected him to progress quite so rapidly.

Potter was recommended to fourth-tier side Ostersunds by Graeme Jones, then Roberto Martinez's assistant at Swansea City, and they would not regret taking him on. Within seven years, Potter was masterminding Europa League wins against Galatasaray, Hertha Berlin, and most noticeably of all, Arsenal.

Having led the side to three promotions in five seasons, Potter oversaw a Svenska Cupen triumph in 2017, earning the chance to face some of Europe's biggest names.

Ostersunds' 2-1 success at the Emirates Stadium in February 2018 put Potter on the map, despite Arsene Wenger's men triumphing 4-2 on aggregate at the end of their round-of-32 tie. 

Despite his limited resources, Potter became the first English coach to beat the Gunners in a European tie at the Emirates, while Ostersunds were the first Swedish team to win away at an English side since 1995, earning their boss a move to Swansea.

Making waves at Swansea ahead of Brighton move

Swansea were considered one of the Premier League's best-run clubs for much of their seven-year spell among the top flight between 2011 and 2018, but Potter inherited a team unprepared for a promotion challenge following relegation that May.

The Swans allowed several key men to leave in Potter's first transfer window, but the new boss made a big impact: Swansea may have finished nine points adrift of a Championship play-off spot, but a controversial 3-2 defeat to Manchester City in the FA Cup quarter-finals put him on the radar of Premier League clubs.  

Despite only spending one season in Wales, Potter was key to the development of the likes of Dan James and Joe Rodon, both of whom went on to join top-six clubs. 

When Brighton were in the mood to change their style of play in 2019, Potter's sterling work on a limited budget in Wales put him high on their shortlist.

Seagulls soar to new heights: Potter's Premier League bow

In the 2018-19 season, Chris Hughton's Brighton staved off relegation by two points, scoring a mere 35 league goals across a dull campaign. Potter's subsequent arrival was not universally welcomed, with several pundits highlighting his lack of top-level experience, but he quickly made them eat their words.

Although finishes of 15th and 16th in his first two campaigns may not have demonstrated obvious progress, Potter's ability to implement a progressive style was clear: having averaged 41 per cent possession in Hughton's final season, Brighton averaged 52 per cent the following year. 

The 2021-22 campaign saw Potter conduct some of his finest work to date, presiding over a ninth-place finish while losing just 11 games. Only Liverpool (two), City (three) and Chelsea (six) were beaten on fewer occasions. 

In addition to the top three, only Tottenham and Wolves posted better defensive records than Brighton last term, and their energetic pressing style was demonstrated by the fact only Liverpool and City won possession in the final third more often than the Seagulls.

Brighton saved arguably their finest performance for Potter's final match, scoring five goals in a top-flight game for the first time (in 364 outings) as they hammered Leicester City 5-2.

The Seagulls fell victim to their own success as Potter was lured to Chelsea four days later, and there are signs he has made an impact quickly in London.

Potter shakes off Chelsea blues with unbeaten start

Potter arrived at Stamford Bridge with Chelsea languishing three points behind Brighton in the early-season standings. He will return to the AMEX Stadium boasting a six-point advantage over his former club, but Chelsea was not a happy place when he took over. 

Many fans felt Tuchel deserved more time following his excellent management of last-season's off-pitch troubles, and while an estimated £250million transfer outlay demonstrated Boehly's intent, their recruitment felt muddled and short-sighted.

Take, for instance, the decision to reunite Tuchel with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, spending £10.3m on a 33-year-old striker before changing coach less than a week later.

Potter, however, has made light of any concerns, becoming just the second Englishman to go undefeated through his first nine games in charge of Chelsea.

While Chelsea dropped out of the top four following a 1-1 draw with Manchester United on Saturday, the Blues' exceptional European form has seen them wrap up top spot in Group E with a game to spare – a commendable achievement given they failed to win their opening two games.

Potter's willingness to switch between a 4-3-3 shape and the 3-4-3 system favoured by Tuchel has helped him to manage his talent-filled squad, while a return of five clean sheets in nine games demonstrates Chelsea's defensive solidity.

At Brighton, meanwhile, Potter's absence has been keenly felt. While his successor Roberto De Zerbi has earned plaudits for the Seagulls' style, he is yet to oversee a victory in five Premier League games (D2 L3).

Should Potter lead Chelsea to a positive result at his former home, De Zerbi will become just the third coach in Brighton's history to not win any of his first six league matches.

Saturday will represent the earliest date in a Premier League season by which a coach has managed for and against the same club. If the teams' contrasting runs of form are anything to go by, it may come far too soon for Brighton.

At Stamford Bridge, meanwhile, things appear to be looking up, and Potter's meteoric rise may be far from over.

Xavi has been backed to enjoy a "remarkable" coaching career by former team-mate Andres Iniesta, despite Barcelona's Champions League exit on Wednesday.

Barca trail Real Madrid by just three points at the top of LaLiga after winning nine of their first 11 games this season, but have received heavy criticism following another European failure.

Inter's 4-0 win over Viktoria Plzen put Barca out of contention for a top-two finish in Group C on Wednesday, and the Blaugrana failed to salvage any pride in a subsequent 3-0 home defeat to Bayern Munich – their sixth consecutive Champions League loss to the Bavarians.

Iniesta, however, believes Xavi will recover from that setback, telling Corriere dello Sport it brings him "so much joy" to see his former midfield partner in the Camp Nou dugout.

"He is a friend and he will have a remarkable career," Iniesta said. "He is prepared, he has studied and had Barcelona as his guide."

Iniesta now captains Japanese side Vissel Kobe, and while the 38-year-old acknowledges his own career is drawing to a close, he is unsure whether he will follow Xavi into coaching.

"I know that when I have to quit, it won't be a great day," he added. "I will think back to when my dad used to take me to play, I will regret many things. 

"Then I will also think about the future, I don't know yet if I will be a coach or a sporting director. I still don't have clear ideas."

Iniesta and Xavi formed one of the most iconic midfield partnerships in football history, contributing to four Champions League triumphs between 2005-06 and 2014-15 during a golden age for Barca.

Young midfielders Pedri and Gavi have earned comparisons to that duo after emerging as key players in Xavi's side, and Iniesta hopes they can replicate their achievements. 

"They said to me that I resembled [Pep] Guardiola, then there was Xavi," Iniesta said. "Now it is up to Pedri and Gavi. Football works in cycles."

Napoli have dismissed the idea they could offer Cristiano Ronaldo refuge in January as the Serie A leaders insist they "don't have to fix anything".

Sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli indicated the prospect of any major incomings or outgoings was remote, given Napoli are confident they have a strong group with the right balance.

He added that to "fly with the fantasy" would not be Napoli's style this season, as they seek a first Scudetto since the 1989-90 season, when Diego Maradona was at the club.

Ronaldo could leave Manchester United in mid-season if a deal can be found that suits all parties.

His refusal to play as a substitute and early exit from the stadium last week against Tottenham led to United briefly banishing him from first-team duties, although the 37-year-old has since returned to the squad and looked set to play some part on Thursday against Sheriff in the Europa League.

However, Ronaldo's former team Sporting CP have ruled out a move, and now Napoli, having been linked with Ronaldo in the last transfer window, are distancing themselves from a possible deal for the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

Giuntoli told Mediaset: "We are very far from the market. At the moment we are thinking only of everyday life, trying to improve continuously."

Regarding Ronaldo, he said: "The January transfer market is one of repair and we don't have to fix anything, so I really think we won't do anything."

That stance covers how Napoli are thinking regarding their exciting, young Georgian winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, as well as striker Victor Osimhen.

Both have admirers in the Premier League, but Napoli are not minded to sell, at least for now.

Luciano Spalletti's team head Serie A with 29 points from 11 games, and they have also won five out of five Champions League group games, beating Rangers 3-0 on Wednesday.

Giuntoli said: "Kvaratskhelia is doing well, like many others, and is absolutely non-transferable."

According to Giuntoli, club president Aurelio De Laurentiis is firmly behind the football staff's plans for shaping the team to deliver success.

"The president is very happy with what we are doing, but like all of us he keeps his feet on the ground," Giuntoli said.

"Football is made up of balance, we must not fly with the fantasy. We are curious to discover our limits.

"Our prerogative has always been to move using our heads, both outgoing and incoming, and I think that, sometimes more, sometimes less, we have always managed to set up a competitive team. We do nothing without first having heard the coach."

Barcelona president Joan Laporta concedes his side's premature Champions League exit is a shame but was philosophical about their "young project" under Xavi.

The Blaugrana were officially eliminated and consigned to the Europa League following Inter's 4-0 win over Viktoria Plzen earlier on Wednesday, before producing a limp home display in a 3-0 loss to Bayern Munich.

Barcelona have been condemned to a group-stage exit for the second straight season, while that comes almost 12 months since Xavi's appointment to replace Ronald Koeman.

The five-time Champions League winners spent significantly in Xavi's first off-season at the helm, bringing in Robert Lewandowski, Jules Kounde, Andreas Christensen, Hector Bellerin, Franck Kessie, Marcos Alonso and Raphinha.

Barca's failure to reach the Champions League knockout stages will have a financial impact on the club, but Laporta was philosophical.

"It's a shame, but you can't blame the players or the coach for anything," Laporta told Barca TV. "We have to look forward, because we have LaLiga and other competitions left.

"This is a young project in which from the beginning we knew we were going to have ups and downs. The league remains and we have to show that we continue."

The Blaugrana are second in LaLiga after a strong start to the campaign with 28 points from 11 games, three points behind Real Madrid, whose El Clasico victory earlier this month put them top.

"LaLiga is very important and we have it close," Laporta said. "The message is to look forward. This has already happened."

Barca's 3-0 home loss to the German champions marked the sixth straight defeat against Bayern, including the 8-2 Champions League quarter-final rout in 2020.

"Bayern is a consolidated and powerful team, one of the best in Europe and they did not play anything, they left relaxed," Laporta added.

"For us it was very complicated and the [Inter] game against Plzen was torture, but we still have faith."

Barca midfielder Pedri was more forthright in his assessment of the side's elimination.

"For me it's a failure," he told Movistar. "We don't deserve to be in the Champions League, we've shown it in games. But we have many competitions to face and give joy to the fans who have been with us at all times."

This was the first time Barca have been eliminated from the Champions League group stage in back-to-back seasons since the 1997-98 and 1998-99 campaigns under Louis van Gaal.

Madrid will be Spain's only team in the last 16 with Sevilla, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid all out with a game to spare. The last season Spain only had one team in the knockout rounds was 1998-99, also Los Blancos.

Julian Nagelsmann praised Bayern Munich's "very mature" performance as they eased to a 3-0 Champions League win against Barcelona at Camp Nou.

Goals from Sadio Mane, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Benjamin Pavard – all assisted by Serge Gnabry – earned the Bundesliga side victory against the beleaguered hosts.

Barca had already seen their elimination from the Champions League confirmed after Group C rivals Inter's 4-0 win over Viktoria Plzen earlier on Wednesday.

Similarly, Bayern were already assured of a last-16 place and went on to clinch top spot with another three points against the Blaugrana.

"The performance was very strong, very mature," Nagelsmann said after the game, in which his team denied Barca a single shot on target.

"We knew we needed to play well, defend well and wait for [attacking] situations. Serge played an incredible game, the defensive line played a great game as well.

"In 94 minutes we did not concede a single shot on target… the team played a tremendous game."

Much of the focus before and after the game was on Barcelona's underwhelming Group C campaign.

Nagelsmann suggested the discourse around the LaLiga side would not be so negative had they avoided defeat in Munich, when Xavi's men lost 2-0 despite playing well.

"I am not a Barca coach, but I think we were a little bit lucky in Munich," he said. "If that game works out differently, then Barca would be looking stronger."

In a game that saw Barca's former Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski was kept quiet, it was fitting that his former deputy, Choupo-Moting, scored.

The Cameroon international has netted six goals in 11 games (four starts) in all competitions this season, including five in his past four outings for Bayern.

"Choupo's style always has something to do with the flow because he needs that confidence," Nagelsmann said of the 33-year-old. "He is a great finisher, he rarely finishes badly and I think he's doing a great job in general, not just scoring goals.

"We're very happy to have him. Last year he was missing a lot for different reasons, now he's here fully and we're trying to support him as best as possible."

Jan Oblak believes Atletico Madrid's supporters "deserve so much more" after Los Rojiblancos were eliminated from the Champions League on Wednesday.

Atletico bowed out in the group stage for the first time in five years following a 2-2 draw with Bayer Leverkusen at Civitas Metropolitano, where Yannick Carrasco's last-gasp penalty was saved by Lukas Hradecky.

Oblak insisted the team take full responsibility after Porto's earlier 4-0 thrashing of Club Brugge meant only a victory over Leverkusen would be enough to maintain their hopes of progressing from Group B.

"[It is] a very cruel way [of being eliminated]. It's football," the goalkeeper told Movistar+. "We have done everything to win, but the previous games have punished us. We have not had the little bit of luck that is needed. 

"We can only thank from the bottom of our hearts the support of the fans. They deserve so much more. The team is very sorry.

"It's the fault of the whole team. And not only this match, but also the previous ones. It's a shame that we can't continue in the Champions League."

Meanwhile, Simeone felt Atletico's continental campaign was epitomised by the late penalty drama involving Carrasco, who deflected a follow-up effort wide after Saul Niguez headed the initial rebound against the crossbar.

But the head coach has called for a strong response from his players, who can secure Europa League football when they face Porto next week if they better Leverkusen's result against Brugge.

"In many of the games, we could have scored some more goals with some forcefulness," Simeone said. "The final action – with the missed penalty, the shot to the crossbar and the shot against Carrasco – sums it up.

"It is clear that we are not looking for excuses, we failed to do things. It makes you angry not to be able to have the possibility of continuing in Porto.

"It is clear that it is a hard blow, we did not expect it, we did not want it nor was it in our project, but it is. There are two ways to continue; either you side with the victim, or on the side of the strong to keep digging."

Antonio Conte accused the VAR of "creating a lot of damage" after Harry Kane saw a 95th-minute goal disallowed in a chaotic 1-1 draw with Sporting CP, claiming other big clubs receive more favourable calls than Spurs.

Tottenham thought they had sealed a spot in the Champions League's last 16 with a game to spare on Wednesday, when Kane rifled home at the last after Rodrigo Bentancur cancelled out Marcus Edwards' opener.

However, Kane was ruled to have been offside from Emerson Royal's knockdown following a three-minute VAR review, leaving the hosts incensed. 

Conte was dismissed by referee Danny Makkelie as the Tottenham bench erupted in protest following the decision, and he continued to express his fury in his post-match interview.

"About the end, I think that the ball was in front of Kane and the goal is a goal. I don't understand the VAR, the line that they put," Conte told BT Sport.

"It's very difficult to comment on this decision and VAR, I think, is creating a lot of damage. 

"I want to see if, in another stadium or with another big team, they are ready to disallow this type of goal. I'd like to know this.

"[I see] a lot of injustice. I don't like this type of situation. I see no positive things."

Conte was equally bemused by the decision to show him a red card, having been one of several members of the Spurs bench to spill onto the pitch in the aftermath of Kane's strike.

"All the people came inside the pitch after the decision to disallow the goal," Conte added. "He came to give me a red card, maybe because I was the most popular person going onto the pitch."

The result – coupled with Eintracht Frankfurt's 2-1 win over Marseille – leaves Group D finely balanced, with just two points separating all four teams after five games. 

That means Spurs will need a draw to secure a top-two finish when they visit the Stade Velodrome next Tuesday, but Conte was reluctant to look beyond Wednesday's contentious finale.

"It's only one point, but I don't understand why we have to wait for another game when we could finish the qualification in this game," Conte added.

"When you invent this type of situation, which is incredible, you create a lot of damage to the club, and you create problems." 

Giovanni van Bronckhorst bemoaned Rangers' failings against "immense" Champions League opponents after another hammering at Napoli edged them closer to an unwanted record.

Rangers have shipped 19 goals in the Champions League this season, the most in a single group stage by a Scottish side, after a 3-0 dismantling by in-form Napoli in Group A on Wednesday.

Van Bronckhorst's side have lost five straight games in Europe for just a third time, with this being their first such sequence in a single campaign.

But Rangers could hit a new low with defeat in their final group outing against Ajax, entering that match with a goal difference of -18.

Dinamo Zagreb hold the worst group-stage record in Champions League history, pointless and with a -19 goal difference in the 2011-12 campaign.

Van Bronckhorst has repeatedly called on his side to learn in the face of high-quality opposition, and he echoed that message after yet another humbling in Naples.

"You can't imagine the opponents we are facing. We think about our performances, of course, but we have to be realistic," the Rangers manager told BT Sport.

"The level we are facing in this group is immense. You have to be ready for 90 minutes – I think the moments we created in the game, we should have taken.

"In too many games we are conceding too many goals. You want to compete at the highest level. It is tough, I said that when we qualified, but you want to be here.

"The more you play it, the more experience you will have as a team and as a player. It's a competition we want to keep competing in. You have to start well in an environment like the one we faced today.

"The two goals we conceded in the first 15 minutes, we are two against one in the centre against one striker. For us to give those goals, it's too easy.

"The reaction we showed afterwards was very positive. We had a big moment to score just before half-time. In the second half, we showed character, we were well organised and tried to push for the goal.

"We created some big moments, but if you don't take those moments in these kinds of games it is difficult to win."

Rangers host Ajax on Tuesday, when they must avoid defeat to avoid claiming at least a share of unwanted history.

Van Bronckhorst added: "[The Ajax game] is a chance to get our first points. We want to leave the tournament with our heads held high, and it's another chance to play at home."

Xavi believes Barcelona being eliminated from the Champions League prior to kick-off led to their insipid showing in a 3-0 home defeat to Bayern Munich.

Inter's 4-0 win against Viktoria Plzen earlier on Wednesday meant Barca were unable to progress from Group C, leading to a second season of dropping into the Europa League following the group stage.

A slow start from the Blaugrana saw them fall 2-0 down after 31 minutes, with Sadio Mane and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting scoring, before Benjamin Pavard tapped in a third in second-half stoppage time.

Speaking after the loss, the Barca coach acknowledged his side were outclassed, saying: "Today we didn't compete, we didn't reach their level. [Bayern] were very good, much better, more intense.

"I'm sure that the elimination before the game affected us psychologically. I'm sure it did."

This was the first time Barca have been eliminated from the Champions League group stage in back-to-back seasons since the 1997-98 and 1998-99 campaigns under Louis Van Gaal.

Xavi bemoaned being drawn into a tough group, and seemed to suggest that he and the club will not necessarily view their elimination as "failure".

"We were drawn in a really difficult group and everything has happened to us in the Champions League," he added. "It was very cruel, but today we didn't compete. On other days we did, but not today.

"I understand that from the outside people talk about failure, but from the inside we have a different analysis.

"It's a cruel way to go out of the competition, but if we analyse the other games, I think we deserved more."

Jurgen Klopp hopes Liverpool reaching the Champions League knockout stages can give "everyone a lift" as the Reds aim to atone for an underwhelming Premier League start.

Klopp has progressed through every Champions League group stage with Liverpool, achieving a club-record sixth straight qualification with a 3-0 victory at Ajax on Wednesday.

Mohamed Salah became the third player to be directly involved in 50 or more goals in the competition for English clubs with a first-half finish and an assist after the interval for Harvey Elliott.

Darwin Nunez scored the other goal as Liverpool eased into the last 16, with Klopp hoping the Reds can carry that form into the Premier League, where they sit eighth – 12 points behind leaders Arsenal.

"We had a tough half an hour, where Ajax made a lot of pressure, and we had to defend a lot. That is fine, it is an away game in the Champions League," the Liverpool manager said on BT Sport.

"We changed system a little bit, we had to, they are a good football team, we wanted Darwin a little bit more central, so we had to adjust.

"We don't have to talk about [our form] all the time, we are through to the knockout stages and I will never take that for granted.

"Really important, it gives everyone a lift for the club. Really helpful, for tonight we all feel great, exhausted but great, and now we have a few days time to prepare for Leeds United."

Nunez inexplicably squandered a glorious first-half opportunity as he hit the post with the goal gaping, but made amends four minutes after the interval with a header from Robertson's corner.

The Scotland international revealed the former Benfica striker's half-time fury after a disappointing finish, though Robertson was delighted to see Nunez get on the scoresheet in a convincing victory.

"We had control. Darwin was really angry with himself at half-time," Robertson told BT Sport. "I sat next to him at half-time and told him I would put a cross in for him to score.

"We knew they had to win. They tried to start fast, and I don't think we calmed down quickly enough, but the important thing was we didn't concede.

"We managed to keep it tight, and then it was about getting the first goal. Three nil at this place, a really tough place to come and the clean sheet is so important for us now."

Liverpool will look to take the momentum from an impressive European win into the Premier League on Sunday, when they face strugglers Leeds.

Simone Inzaghi believes Inter have achieved "something special" by qualifying from a Champions League group that also contained Bayern Munich and Barcelona.

Inter thrashed Viktoria Plzen 4-0 in San Siro on Wednesday to confirm their place in the last 16, with the victory putting them out of Barcelona's reach.

When the draw was made, most felt Inter were the outsiders with Bayern and big-spending Barca expected to go through.

But Inter took four points from two games against the Blaugrana, results that ultimately proved crucial in beating Xavi's men to qualification.

Inter secured their progress with a match to spare, leaving Inzaghi elated with an achievement that he feels goes beyond his previous expectations.

"To achieve this goal, the first of the season, we had to do something special and we did it," he told Amazon Prime.

"We have grown from game to game. The opener with Bayern was tough but then we had a double-header with Barcelona that gave us a lot of belief. We are happy for the club and for our fans.

"There was hope. We knew we had ended up in a very difficult group because Barcelona and Bayern are very strong.

"We went beyond expectations, qualifying with a game to go. You have to give the boys a big round of applause."

Romelu Lukaku's goalscoring return from injury was the icing on the cake for Inter, who were already 3-0 up when the Belgian came on in the 83rd minute.

Lukaku – who had been out for two months – scored four minutes after his introduction, and Inzaghi is hopeful of Marcelo Brozovic following the striker in coming back into the fold very soon.

"He's doing great," Inzaghi said of Brozovic, who has been absent for a month with a thigh injury.

"Playing every three days, we need everyone. Now Lukaku is back, we'll try to include Brozovic in the next few days.

"We missed them in this period because when you play every three days you must have the possibility to change personnel."

Tottenham were made to wait in their bid to reach the Champions League's last 16 after Harry Kane was denied a 95th-minute winner in a contentious and chaotic finish to their 1-1 draw with Sporting CP.

Kane looked to have sealed Spurs' progression from Group B when he fired past Antonio Adan from close range at the last, but a VAR review controversially ruled the striker to have been offside. 

Marcus Edwards – who came through Spurs' youth system before moving to Portugal – had earlier handed Sporting a deserved lead, which was cancelled out by Rodrigo Bentancur's header.

Antonio Conte was dismissed for his furious reaction to Kane's disallowed goal, and his side will now require a result at Marseille next Tuesday in order to reach the knockout stage.

Paulinho had already given Spurs a warning before Edwards opened the scoring 22 minutes in, riding Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's challenge in a slaloming run before picking out the bottom-right corner.

Sporting were on top throughout the opening half and were denied a two-goal lead when Sebastian Coates inexplicably handled into the net from close range.

Spurs needed 52 minutes to put Adan under any genuine pressure, as Eric Dier tested the Spaniard with a well-struck volley before sending a glancing header onto the roof of the net.

Sporting passed up huge chances to make sure of the points through Flavio Nazinho, and they paid for that profligacy as Bentancur rose to nod Ivan Perisic's corner home with Adan in no man's land.

However, there was more drama to come when Kane lashed in from Emerson Royal's knockdown and a three-minute VAR review followed, eventually striking off the England captain's winner.

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