MADRID: Antoine Griezmann scored all four goals as Atletico Madrid swatted aside Leganes 4-0 in La Liga on Wednesday to cut the gap on leaders Barcelona to four points.
Barcelona visit Las Palmas on Thursday before hosting Atletico on Sunday.
French forward Griezmann bagged two goals in each half in a stunning display to become the first Atletico player this century to score hat-tricks in successive league games.
He also became the first Atletico player to net four in a match since Radamel Falcao in 2012 and brought up his 100th goal for the club he joined in 2014.
“It’s a great feeling, the team are on an upward curve,” coach Diego told a news conference. “We’re in good form, we need to focus on carrying on improving as a side. We’ve tried to be tighter than we were last time out.
“Leganes has a couple of chances, but we improved and were able to seal the win.”
Leganes had started strongly and were unfortunate not to open the scoring.
Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak tipped Gerard Gumbau's thunderous effort on to the bar before Filipe Luis blocked Gabriel’s follow-up on the line in a frantic opening quarter in which Griezmann struck the woodwork.
The Frenchman made no mistake, however, as he ran on to Koke’s sumptuous through ball to finish after 25 minutes and soon doubled his tally with a stunning free kick.
The hat-trick was completed with a towering header before Griezmann volleyed in a fourth to complete an eighth successive victory for Simeone’s team in all competitions.
“We now need to go and play the best we can against an opponent who has not lost in the league yet this season,” Simeone added ahead of the trip to Barcelona.
“We’re doing well, but we need to be humble at Barca given we’re going to play the best side in the land.”