Antoine Griezmann grabbed a goal and an assist as Atletico Madrid returned to winning ways with a 3-0 home victory over Real Valladolid in LaLiga on Saturday.
First-half goals from Griezmann, Alvaro Morata and Mario Hermoso earned fourth-placed Atletico just their second win in their last seven league games, while a fifth straight defeat for Valladolid leaves them one point above the relegation zone in 17th place.
Atletico are 10 points adrift of leaders Barcelona, who have two games in hand and next face Getafe on Sunday.
Diego Simeone’s side took control of the game early on, scoring all three of their goals in a 10-minute span.
Griezmann set up Morata for the first in the 18th minute with a clever flick, before getting on the scoresheet himself with a delightfully improvised backheel goal.
The Frenchman was heavily involved in the third goal as well, finding Hermoso with a free-kick. Hermoso’s 28th-minute header was denied by Valladolid goalkeeper Jordi Masip but the rebound fell back at his feet and the Atletico defender found the net.
“We knew the importance of the game and of getting the three points and continuing the fight. The objective is to keep growing every day and turn things around,” goalscorer Hermoso told DAZN.
“We’ve been creating chances but haven’t been able to win. We wanted that feeling of enjoying ourselves, scoring early and feeling comfortable. I think we got that today.”
“The team know what we need and want. The second half, we needed to be strong.”
The game slowed down a little in the second period as Atletico sat back and defended, while a desperate Valladolid pressed for a goal but were unable to break down their opponents.
Memphis Depay, signed from Barcelona earlier this week, made his debut for Atletico in the second half, coming on in the 75th minute in place of Morata.
The Dutch international’s introduction livened up the game towards the end, as he created a couple of half chances for Atletico.
“We hope Memphis gives us a lot. He’s come here with the desire to help us and he’s proud to wear the Atletico shirt, he’s welcome here,” Hermoso said.
Atletico next face cross-town rivals Real Madrid in a Copa del Rey quarter-final tie on Thursday.