Mario Hermoso: “Few teams want to play against us”

Atletico Madrid travelled to Austria to lock horns with RB Salzburg in the Champions League on Wednesday evening in the knowledge that they couldn’t countenance defeat.

They didn’t. A first half strike from Mario Hermoso was complemented by a late goal from Yannick Carrasco to ensure that Atletico secured safe passage to the next round of the competition in style.

With Bayern Munich runaway winners in their group, Atletico needed to at least draw to guarantee their place in the last 16 of the competition, with their European form not matching up with their stellar domestic record this season.

Cholo Simeone’s side are currently top of La Liga, a point clear of second-placed Real Sociedad with two games in hand having won eight and drawn two of their first ten games. They’re considered by many to be the early title favourites.

“We knew it was going to be difficult, that it was going to cost us a lot,” Hermoso, the scorer of the first goal, said after the game in comments carried by Marca.

“We knew what we were playing for, how important it was for us, for the club and for all the people who support us. This victory is for them.

Hermoso said that no rival in the last 16 will be viewed as insurmountable. Atletico’s draw will be tough seeing as they finished second in their group. “Logically, I think that few teams want to play against us,” he said.

“We are a strong team with a large squad full of players able to come in and perform in every game. We’re the team that goes out to win every game and gives importance to all competitions, and I can assure you that we’ll be a complicated opponent.”

Next up for Atletico is a trip to city rivals Real Madrid on Saturday evening. Los Blancos are in somewhat resurgent form, having beaten Sevilla in Andalusia at the weekend and just qualified for the last 16 themselves by way of a comfortable 2-0 victory of Borussia Monchengladbach.

“We go there in a moment where things are going the way we want,” Hermoso said.

“We work to win and maintain a dynamic like we have right now. Our squad is enviable and we want to continue to win and compete, and that means adding three points at a time and trying to maintain that winning streak in La Liga.”

Featured image courtesy of Atletico Madrid.

Tags Atletico Madrid Champions League Mario Hermoso