Highly-rated goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois cut a defiant figure as he spelled out the challenge for Club Atlético de Madrid ahead of Tuesday's trip to FK Austria Wien.
Diego Simeone's charges have dazzled on their UEFA Champions League return, climbing to the Group B summit by posting back-to-back victories against FC Zenit on matchday one and FC Porto two weeks later. In the Spanish Liga, meanwhile, Atlético lie second – their club-record eight-game winning start having ended with a 1-0 defeat at RCD Espanyol on Saturday.
"We were disappointed with the result and the fact that our fantastic run had come to an end," said Courtois, now in his third season on loan at the Vicente Calderón from Chelsea FC. "However, we go into the next game with clear minds, focus and a determination to do well. The Champions League and the Liga are two different competitions."
The old adage of taking "each game as it comes" may have passed Courtois' lips, yet the fresh-faced Belgian maintains an insatiable desire for success. "It's a very important game tomorrow and it won't be easy. We go to Vienna with one clear target in mind – to collect three points. No team can win all of their games but we are doing our best to win as many as possible," he said.
Austria earned praise on matchday two for being defensively compact and meticulously organised as they held Zenit to a goalless draw. They also frustrated Porto for long periods before succumbing 1-0 in their section opener. Atlético, Courtois explained, plan to counteract such qualities with an approach than hinges on the virtue of patience.
"We have seen some of Austria's games," he said. "We must remain focused because we're in for a tough evening. We have to remain patient and stick to our game plan and tactics that the coach has put in place for us. We cannot afford to underestimate Austria. Every team in the Champions League has quality in their ranks."
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