It took 74 minutes for Fernando Torres to break the deadlock between Atlético Madrid and Alavés, as the 33-year-old slotted in a pinpoint delivery from wantaway fullback Śime Vrsaljko. That goal was all Atlético needed Saturday to beat the relegation-threatened Basque side and go second in LaLiga(!).
El Niño was extremely happy after the game, as his remarks indicate.
On the match:
“We knew it was important to get the win. We're playing well and we have to keep it up.
“Alavés played an intelligent match. They defended well and it was difficult for us to create chances. They played a very clever game. We had a hard time finding opportunities.
“We're on a good run though and above all, we had to win.”
On scoring the winning goal:
“I'm happy to have scored. Whenever you score, you feel like you've made your coach proud.”
“As long as you have the feeling that you've done your job, that's enough.”
“Now it's time to continue working hard.”
On the atmosphere and the fans impact:
“They [the fans] know we need them in order to have the same atmosphere we had in the Vicente Calderón. This is our new home and we have to fill it up with trophies and wins.
“We must rediscover the Calderón atmosphere in a much bigger stadium. Fans are starting to get more involved, but the quiet is much more noticeable here.
“It's only a matter of time before this changes, it's now up to us to fill this stadium with memories and titles.”
On being in second place in the table:
“Atlético are now second. This is where we want to be and that's important.”
On the match and the games ahead:
“The team improved with the changes [Correa, Torres]. It is important to have the group as it is. The guys who have not played [as much] have done very well and have shown it.
“We have room for improvement. Players want to keep growing and that is good for the team. What has happened [Champions League elimination] is left behind.
“We're now working for the games ahead, which will be as difficult as today.”
On Atlético’s title candidacy:
“Those who now see us as title candidates are the same who wrote us off seven weeks ago. We are not thrilled when they speak highly of us, nor are we sad when they do wrong.”