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Diego Costa helps Atlético maintain fine start

Published: Monday 7 October 2013, 9.10CET
With striker Diego Costa and Club Atlético de Madrid continuing to add to their impressive Liga hauls this season, talk of a first top-flight title since 1996 is gathering momentum.
by Paul Bryan
from Madrid
Diego Costa helps Atlético maintain fine start
Diego Costa added to his Liga tally at the weekend ©Getty Images
Published: Monday 7 October 2013, 9.10CET

Diego Costa helps Atlético maintain fine start

With striker Diego Costa and Club Atlético de Madrid continuing to add to their impressive Liga hauls this season, talk of a first top-flight title since 1996 is gathering momentum.

A weekend double in the 2-1 win against RC Celta de Vigo increased Diego Costa's lead at the top of the Liga goalscoring charts and helped Club Atlético de Madrid maintain their perfect opening to the campaign, yet the forward explained things could have been even better.

An eighth consecutive Liga victory ensured Los Rojiblancos continue to mirror FC Barcelona's 100% start to the season. Costa's brace, meanwhile, took his league total to ten, equalling his previous best top-flight tally which he managed in 31 games last term. A missed first-half penalty against Celta, however, left the 24-year-old feeling less than completely satisfied.

"I don't like missing penalties; it's normal that that would get to me," he said. "The good thing was that a couple more chances came around and I managed to score twice. [But] the important thing was that we won and not who scored."

Currently ahead of Barça's Lionel Messi [eight] and Real Madrid CF forward Cristiano Ronaldo [seven] in the race for the Pichichi – or Liga top scorer – title, Costa insists he hasn't set any fixed targets for the campaign. "I have no figure in my head," he said after netting in his fifth consecutive game. "I'm very happy at the moment and the most important thing is to go step by step but here's hoping I can score many more."

Praising the striker's "enormous progress since his [loan] return from Rayo Vallecano," Atlético coach Diego Simeone said Costa – who has also had loan spells at SC Braga, Celta, Albacete Balompié and Real Valladolid CF – still had room to improve.

"He had yet another great game [on Sunday]," said the former Argentina midfielder. "He's getting better all the time and we are happy for him. We hope that he can maintain this balance – which is what will be the most difficult thing – while I feel he can still get a lot better. Diego has got exactly what he's been yearning after and I hope we can go on enjoying his talent as he continues along this path."

Atlético, meanwhile, are continuing along their winning path which has seen the team surpass a previous club best start of six opening wins in 1991/92. They are now just one victory away from equalling Madrid's all-time best nine-match sequence at the beginning of the 1968/69 season.

Speaking after Sunday's encounter, Simeone's counterpart Luis Enrique mentioned that Atlético were now "without doubt title contenders". He added: "They are the most powerful team we have faced. There is a long way to go but if they continue like this it would be absurd not to think they will be candidates to win."

Last updated: 07/10/13 11.22CET

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