Atletico can beat anyone, says hat-trick hero Mandzukic
27 November 2014, 14:02
Madrid - Atletico Madrid are confident they can see off all-comers after last season's beaten finalists swept into the Champions League knockout rounds with a game to spare, according to hat-trick hero Mario Mandzukic.
The Croatia forward, one of several new faces in the Atletico side this term, became the first player to score a treble for the La Liga side in the Champions League era in Wednesday's 4-0 thrashing of Olympiakos Piraeus.
The thumping Group A victory at the Calderon fired Atletico into the last 16 and if they avoid defeat at Italian champions Juventus next month they will be assured of top spot and avoid any fellow group winners in the draw on Dec. 15.
"It's a wonderful feeling to score a hat-trick, but the most important thing is that we won and secured our place in the next round," Mandzukic, who moved to the Spanish capital from Bayern Munich in the close season, told reporters.
"In the knockout stages it's always 50-50 but we're showing that we are a really good team, so you never know," added the 28-year-old.
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"We're able to beat anyone. We're enjoying ourselves and winning - that's the most important thing."
Atletico's Spain midfielder Raul Garcia, who scored the opening goal on Wednesday, dismissed any idea the Spanish champions would be playing for a draw at Juve on Dec. 9.
"We're going to go to Turin with the objective of winning and sealing first place," he told reporters. "Everything we've done up to now has been working towards that."
Atletico's next outing is Sunday's La Liga game at home to Deportivo La Coruna.
Diego Simeone's side, beaten 4-1 by Real Madrid in last year's Champions League final, are third after 12 matches, four points behind leaders Real and two adrift of second-placed Barcelona.