Aurelio blames Liverpool players for Champions League exit

Brazilian defender Fabio Aurelio maintains Liverpool's stars must shoulder the blame for the club's humiliating exit from the Champions League.

The versatile 30-year-old, back from a calf injury, played in midfield in Tuesday's 1-0 victory in Budapest against Hungarian champions Debrecen.

But the victory was in vain as Fiorentina's win over Lyon ensured Liverpool drop into the Europa League by finishing third in Group E.

Aurelio said: "The players still have confidence and we know that it is only us who can change our situation by working hard to improve.

"We know we can do better, certainly than we are doing at the moment.

"The team are now intent on winning at Everton on Sunday and starting to get more points right to the end of the season. Then we will see what position we are in, and what we are able to fight for.

"It is a big game next against Everton and a big opportunity to improve and regain the strength we need for a long season ahead."

Aurelio added: "It is difficult to explain how we feel. Being Liverpool, you expect to go much further in the competition than we have done this season.

"But now we cannot allow ourselves to dwell on what has happened, we must concentrate on the future to fight for a different title, the Europa League.

"We also have the challenge to do things better in the Premier League as well.

"It is difficult to know where this campaign has gone wrong, but against Lyon we lost goals in the last minutes of both games and that has made the difference.

"Liverpool used to be more solid in defence, and we have only scored four goals in five games in the group matches, so we have to improve in all areas.

"We have been missing a lot of players through injury problems, so we have to think that things can only improve in that situation.

"It is a big disappointment to be out of the Champions League, but we have to win a trophy. A big team like Liverpool must accept that.

"The Europa League is an opportunity to win a trophy and that's how we will go into this competition thinking. At Liverpool, every competition is important, we want to win trophies.

"We will have a great chance to get a trophy and we'll go for it, but there is still a long way go until May and we have to improve.

"In the Premier League we know we have to do better and we have a massive game at the weekend at Everton.

"It's the derby and we will try to do things properly and get the three points."

Liverpool are trying desperately to put a brave face on the situation.

Chief executive Christian Purslow insists manager Rafael Benitez's position is not under threat, while skipper Steven Gerrard has vowed that Liverpool will win the Europa League.

Purslow said: "You can never predict last-minute goals like we had twice against Lyon which have cost us dear in the Champions League. That's no basis to make managerial decisions.

"We don't run our business in that respect. I am on the record as saying Rafa has signed a new five-year contract, he is four months into that contract so to discuss that is not appropriate. He is under no threat."

Gerrard added: "Now we are in the Europa League so we must try to win that. The main prize has gone and to be playing in the Europa League is disappointing but we have to accept that, move on and try our best to win that competition."

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

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
10 best DSLRs

Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash