Gabi hails 'dream start' for Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid skipper Gabi has labelled his side's start to the season as "perfect" and is confident they can keep pace with Barcelona.

Atletico are only a point behind the league leaders after their 2-1 victory over Granada on Thursday and hold a five-point advantage over city rivals Real Madrid, who sit third.

Goals from Diego Costa and David Villa ensured their 10th win of the season, and their third consecutive win in all competitions.

The club captain hailed their early-season form as a "dream", and insisted they are keen to keep the pressure on Gerardo Martino's side at the top of the table, having dropped off following a strong start last term.

"30 points of 33 is the dream start," he said. "We want to win at Athletic (Bilbao) to follow the trail of Barcelona.

"We have earned the respect that we receive on the pitch as a big team.

"It (victory over Granada) was hard, but we managed to play very well."

Diego Simeone's side have only lost once this season, while also going unbeaten in the UEFA Champions League so far.