- Danny Drinkwater reflects on how far Leicester City have come after defeat to Atlético Madrid
- The Foxes exited the UEFA Champions League at the Quarter-Final stage on Tuesday night
- A 1-1 result was not enough for City to book their spot in the draw for the final four this week
- The match coincided with the eight-year anniversary of Leicester's League 1 title back in 2009
Danny Drinkwater was proud despite Leicester City’s 2-1 aggregate defeat to Atlético Madrid on Tuesday night which brought their UEFA Champions League journey to an end.
The Foxes proved the bookmakers wrong yet again to reach the Quarter-Final stage in Europe’s biggest club competition after scrapbook victories over Club Brugge, Copenhagen, Porto and Sevilla but Diego Simeone’s side were a step too far despite the backing of a thunderous Filbert Way crowd.
Craig Shakespeare’s men hunted down an aggregate deficit during a breathless second half at Leicester City Stadium. However, Atlético, with Diego Godín in stellar form at centre-back, equaled their hosts’ gargantuan effort levels to grind out the result and book a spot in the draw for the final four.
Jamie Vardy's second half strike cancelled out Saúl Ñíguez's opener but an Antoine Griezmann penalty in the first leg tipped the tie in Atléti's favour. As the clock ticked down, City continued to force their illustrious visitors back in their own half and were desperately unlucky not to bridge the gap late on.
“We’re disappointed, obviously, but we can be proud,” said England international Drinkwater to LCFC TV at full-time. “We put our all into that game. Overall, we’ve lost the game tonight over two legs, but I thought the lads did terrifically well tonight. Everything considered, I think we deserved more.
“We created a lot more chances in the second half. We were a lot more direct, we knew we had to make something of the game so we went for it after half-time. I’m not sure how many chances we had but I think it was pretty high. It’s credit to us as a team. We’ve worked very hard to be where we are.”
Despite the disappointment of being eliminated from the competition, Drinkwater says Leicester can take immense pride from their achievements across recent seasons. The visit of Simeone’s men on Tuesday night coincided with the anniversary of City’s 2009 League 1 title triumph eight years ago.
Since then, the Foxes have won the second-tier and Premier League titles while this intrepid European tour is something Drinkwater will remember forever: “We can be proud of our performance and how far we’ve got in the competition. It’s been crazy. You can roll back the years, five years ago we were nowhere near where we are now, so it’s special.”