AC Milan were knocked out of the Champions League in the most humbling circumstances after a 5-1 defeat against Atletico Madrid in the last 16 stage. This was a result that put more pressure on manager Clarence Seedorf, who took over only a few months ago. Seedorf rested a number of players for the weekend’s match against Udinese, which ended in a 1-0 defeat for the team. It has been rumoured that Seedorf had made a priority to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League rather than compete for the Europa league places.

The financial rewards of reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League are far greater than going through an entire season of Europa league football. However, the ploy did not work after Milan allowed Atletico Madrid to take the lead after just two minutes through Diego Costa. Even though Kaka managed to get the club back into the game with a goal in the first half, the match was effectively over in the second half after goals from Raul Garcia and Turan. The defeat means that Milan have won only once in the last five matches.

They will now shift their attention to the league, in which they are 10th in the table. Seedorf said after the match that the tie was lost in the first half.

“You could see after the second goal that the team struggled psychologically to react, as they often do. The second goal turned off the light and sapped the energy from the team. We analysed the situation together. Obviously the Champions League was an important objective for us and economically for the club. We had played well in the first leg and showed in the first half that we could play on a par with Atletico, but couldn’t be consistent for the whole game,” said Seedorf.