Assuncao certain Atletico will qualify

Atletico Madrid midfielder Paulo Assuncao is confident his side can put their poor start to the season behind them and return from tonight's Champions League tie against his former club Porto with all three points.

Atletico made the trip to Portugal under increasing pressure after taking just three points from their opening five league matches, which has left the team in the bottom three.

The Rojiblancos have not had much reason for cheer in Europe either, and they were booed off by their own fans after being held to a goalless draw by minnows Apoel Nicosia in their opening Group D game. That was a potentially costly setback for Atletico, especially considering the other team in their group are Chelsea, but Assuncao does not feel that result has jeopardised their chances of progressing to the knockout stages.

Instead, he believes they will get back on track against the Portuguese champions tomorrow.

"Porto have a good team and it won't be easy to beat them, although we also have a great squad and I think we can defeat them and come back to Madrid with the three points," said Assuncao, who played for Porto in the 2000/01 season and then again from 2005-08 before making the switch to Atletico.

"Not getting through to the next round isn't something that we are thinking about. I'm sure we'll get past the group stage."

Abel Resino's men go into the match having had contrasting experiences in their last two league matches, both of which finished in 2-2 draws.

Last week, they were denied a first win of the campaign by a last-minute Almeria equaliser, and then on Sunday they were saved from defeat by an injury-time leveller of their own against Valencia.

"We're going to fight just as hard [against Porto] as we did in the Valencia match. We're really looking forward to trying to get the win," added Assuncao.

Atletico already know from bitter recent experience just how hard it is to win at the Estadio do Dragao, though.

In last season's competition Atletico travelled to Portugal needing to score at least once to have a chance of progressing to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, after being held 2-2 at home by Porto.

However, they were unable to find the breakthrough in a goalless draw and Porto, having dominated the first leg and been unlucky not to record a convincing victory at the Vicente Calderon, deservedly went through to the last eight.

Porto could get no further, though, as they were knocked out by the defending champions, Manchester United.

This season Jesualdo Ferreira's side suffered a losing start to their group campaign against another English side, going down 1-0 to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

They have had a much better time of it domestically than their opponents tonight, though, winning four of their opening six games, including a 1-0 triumph over Sporting Lisbon at the weekend.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003