Koke makes Jan Oblak statement which goes against Ralf Rangnick claim
Koke has hailed Atletico Madrid teammate Jan Oblak as the best goalkeeper in the world.
The Slovenian kept a clean sheet at Old Trafford as the Spanish side secured a 1-0 win to progress into the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Oblak was by no means tested regularly but needed to step up late on as he kept out Raphael Varane's header as the hosts sought an equaliser.
Atletico's No 1 has long been hailed in the top bracket of goalkeepers and has been crucial in Diego Simeone's success, which has prioritised a defensive structure. He was only beaten the once across the two-legs and his teammate highlighted his importance as he talked up their ambitions.
"We deserved the win in the first leg, but fought so hard here to get what we deserved from this tie," Koke said. "We want to go far in the competition and it's incredible to still be in it. It's important for us to still be in the Champions League in what's an up-and-down season. For me, Jan Oblak is the best goalkeeper in the world. He's shown it once again tonight."
That opinion would go against that of Ralf Rangnick, who has lavished praise on David de Gea since taking charge. The interim boss has seen the Spaniard step up on several occasions, often keeping his side in games. De Gea has endured a difficult few seasons but his current coach insists he is arguably the world's finest.
Rangnick said earlier this year: "David de Gea is probably one of the best if not the best in the world and we are very happy to have him.” Despite that the 31-year-old was unable to stop Renan Lodi heading home in the first-half on Tuesday night, which proved to be the deciding goal.
Who should be the next Man Utd manager? Have your say in the comments!
After the game De Gea was clearly affected by the result, citing their shortcomings in both games as a major factor in their exit. It means United will endured another trophyless season, extending their silverware drought to five years.
He said: "We are really disappointed with the result. It's difficult to put into words how we feel now at the moment. We did not do enough in both games to win it. It's a very disappointing day for us." He then added: "Of course it's not good enough. It's hard for the club, for us and the fans. It's really hard. This is where we are at the moment. It's a difficult."
United's immediate focus now is finishing in the top four as they face the prospect of no Champions League football next season. Arsenal currently occupy fourth and are in pole position given their games in hand.
Pick up your Daily Mirror every day of the Cheltenham Festival for a FREE £2 shop bet with William Hill which can be used on any of the sporting action! 18+ Terms apply. See tomorrow's paper for your voucher.