First-half goals from Antoine Griezmann, Thomas Partey and Koke helped a resurgent Atletico Madrid secure a 3-0 home victory over Huesca in La Liga on Tuesday.
Atlético send message ahead of Madrid derby
Diego Simeone’s side were comfortable as they recorded a third consecutive win in all competitions, with all three goals coming in an opening 35-minute blitz.
After an underwhelming start to the season, Atletico looked back to their best, despite Simeone shuffling his pack for the visit of the Liga debutants.
The coach rested Saul Niguez, Rodrigo and Juanfran ahead of this weekend’s derby against local rivals Real Madrid, with youngster Carlos Isaac handed only his second start for the club.
"We are getting back into our groove, being comfortable on the ball and together as one," defender Filipe Luis said.
"Little by little we are getting back to our best. We need to get used to winning again. We had a tough start to the campaign, and we always demand so much of ourselves here and you can't always be at your best. We're on the right track."
Atletico's Thomas Lemar went close from distance before Partey's curling effort grazed the post in a dominant first-half performance, with the only blemish being the departure of defender Jose Maria Gimenez through injury.
Simeone, however, said the substitution was merely precautionary.
"The doctors will look at him tomorrow, but knowing him as I do, I'm hopeful he will be fine for Saturday," the Argentine coach said.
Griezmann opens door before Partey gets going
Griezmann tapped in from close range after 16 minutes after unselfish play from strike partner Diego Costa to open the scoring.
Partey’s second powerful long-range effort of the night then found the bottom corner to double their lead on the half hour.
Less than five minutes later Koke scored a fortunate third as his lofted pass was missed by both team mate Angel Correa and the onrushing Huesca goalkeeper Axel Werner, who joined the minnows on loan from Atletico in the close season.
The forward was initially flagged offside, but the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) correctly overruled the decision and awarded the goal.
The second half was largely a non-event, with Simeone substituting Griezmann and Costa -- who is without a league goal since February -- soon after the restart.
Atletico climbed into third place in La Liga behind Real and Barcelona, who both play on Wednesday, while Huesca drop to 18th and are without a win in five.
Earlier on Tuesday, fifth-placed Espanyol maintained their positive start to the season with a 1-0 victory over Eibar, while 17th-placed Rayo Vallecano earned a point away at Real Sociedad with a 2-2 draw.