Mandzukic: It was a pleasure to outplay Real Madrid

The Croatia striker was thrilled with Atletico’s performance in a memorable derby, while Tiago reserved a special mention for coach Diego Simeone

Atletico Madrid striker Mario Mandzukic has described playing in his side’s 4-0 derby thrashing of Real Madrid as “a pleasure”.

Mandzukic added the icing on the cake to an emphatic performance from the champions, scoring the final goal in their demolition of the current Liga leaders on Saturday.

The Croatia international says goals are not everything to him but offered little doubt as to the satisfaction within the Atleti dressing-room after the match.

He told Nova TV: “We all had to give our best to win this game and it was really a pleasure to outplay Real Madrid like that.

“It doesn’t mater if I score or not, what is important is that we win games. But of course I am glad I scored.”

Midfielder Tiago, who opened the scoring, paid tribute to the preparations of head coach Diego Simeone prior to the match.

“We wanted to keep up the pressure on Barcelona and Madrid in the league and we got the three points on a very good afternoon for us. We didn’t give Real Madrid any openings and everything went our way from kick-off,” he told reporters.

“Madrid played during the week and that worked against them. We knew that with our fans behind us we are strong and we showed that.

“We wanted to exploit the spaces that Real left behind them. We got into the game early and we found the areas where we could hurt Madrid. Our manager has shown what he is about; everything he told us to do came together on the pitch.

“I have been through the times when we couldn’t win [the derby]. Not much has changed, but our confidence has and everything went our way. We have everything very clear in our minds and we are a strong team. We knew if we followed what we have been doing that victory was possible.”

Guilherme Siqueira, singled out for praise by Simeone after the match, added to Canal Plus:  “We are pleased to think that the work we did was very important.

“We kept high intensity throughout the game. When we put so much intensity in, it is difficult to beat us. I think we should give more credit to Atletico rather than criticise Madrid.”

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