Fernando Torres claimed confidence is growing at Atletico Madrid after a 1-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao kept them level with Barcelona at the top of La Liga.
Torres scored the decisive goal in the game, finishing Antoine Griezmann’s cross with a neatly placed header in the first half, and Diego Simeone’s side withstood a barrage of late pressure from Athletic to hold on for a vital three points.
Athletic have now failed to beat Atletico in six attempts in La Liga, but Torres insisted the victory at San Mames was hard fought.
He said: “It was the game we knew it would be. We worked really hard, and we knew they’d push us back.
“We were fortunate enough to score in first half. We had to suffer a lot in the second and it was really difficult. Athletic are a great team.
“We’re very proud of the game we played. Bilbao are in a great moment, and it’s really positive to come here and win.
“We keep believing and hoping that we can do great things this season.”
The result marked Atletico’s eighth win in nine La Liga outings and ensured they are level on 79 points with Barca with four games left this season.
Torres underlined the ambition Atletico have to emerge with the title, and looked forward to the challenge of taking on Malaga at home this weekend.
He said: “The most important things is that the team wins, but everyone feels more confident. We’re getting closer to the aim for this season.
“Against Malaga it’s going to be a difficult game. They’ve been playing well recently, but we’ve been getting some good results at the Calderon.
“This win will help us go into that game with confidence. We just have to win.”