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Rodrigo de Paul praised Atletico Madrid’s attitude and desire, after his strike in the second half secured a 2-1 victory over Cadiz in LaLiga.
Atletico took the lead within two minutes when the strong striker Joao Felix took advantage of a goalkeeper error to score and recorded his sixth goal involved in six league games.
Still, Cadiz came on level when Alvaro Negredo scored an excellent header just before the break.
Despite Diego Simeone’s men scoring just six shots for Cadiz’s 14 throughout the competition, as well as just 0.60 expected goals (xG), De Paul swept his first LaLiga goal home after 68 minutes to send last season’s champions on a third place in the table.
Javi Serrano received the fastest red card issued to a LaLiga replacement this season, being rejected four minutes and 49 seconds after entering the match late, but Atletico held out for a decisive victory and De Paul was delighted with the team’s character at the end of a difficult match. evening.
“We made it,” the Argentine midfielder told LaLiga TV. “We had the character to do it. We go happy from there and will continue to improve.
“I do not know if we relaxed 1-0. The game got a different dynamic, Cadiz had to come and look for us. We were well placed, but we failed in our passes.
“The important thing is the attitude, the desire and it is the fourth victory in a row.
“Fortunately, the goal came. It’s nice to score when helping the team.”
First LaLiga goal pic.twitter.com/bpjTwVamuS
– Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) March 11, 2022
Atletico have now won four consecutive LaLiga matches, one win more than the score they reached in their previous 10 league matches, and must now turn their attention to a Champions League second match with Manchester United at Old Trafford.
The Spanish champions have lost on their last two away trips to face English teams in the Champions League, in Chelsea in 2020-21 and Liverpool this season without scoring a goal in any of them, but De Paul hoped that the team’s strong domestic form would serve them well at Old Trafford.
“That confidence should earn us for the match in Manchester,” he said. “Hopefully we can have a great match there.”
Atletico boss Simeone, meanwhile, was not happy with his team’s poor performance, but stressed the importance of the result as Atletico are battling for a top-4 finish and a return to the Champions League next season.
“Cadiz controlled the game and did not have clear scoring situations, but neither did we, neither pushing nor winning the other ball or making quick transitions,” Simeone said.
“[It was] a flat, flat, slow game, without intensity, without recovery, without fast transitions, without winning the other ball. [It was] a little better in the second half, but we need to get back to the situations we have shown in the last few games.
“In this last part of the championship, if I always say that the most important thing is to win, [it is] much more now. “
Atletico now hold a five-point cushion over Real Betis in fifth place in the LaLiga, even though Betis has a game in hand.