Are Atletico Madrid equipped to build on their La Liga success?

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Atletico Madrid find themselves in the strange position of underdogs yet again this season, despite being defending La Liga champions.

Despite a first La Liga title in 16 years and coming within a hairs breadth of a first-ever Champions League triumph, the talk is of another tough season for Diego Simeone's men.

It's true that in Diego Costa, Felipe Luiz, David Villa and Thibaut Courtois, Atleti have lost a large portion of players who were integral to their success last season.

However, the intent with which they secured the first silverware of the season, the Spanish Supercup, surely gives an indication that all is still well at the Vicente Calderon.

The naysayers will point to the victory over Real Madrid as being akin to England's Community Shield curtain-raiser but that's rather missing the point.

Don't let anyone tell you that the competition doesn't matter. 

It's been contested by Real, Atleti and Barca over the last few seasons and the games have been ferocious at times. So, Atleti's win over the two legs should be afforded appropriate respect.

Simeone the inspiration

The team once again played in Simeone's own image.

Exuberant, energetic and physical, their play mirrored the manager's effervescence on the sideline. As is his wont from time to time, the Argentine allowed his frustrations to boil over and received a red card and touchline ban for his troubles.

Not that it will bother him.

Sat in the stands, Simeone was in his element whipping up a storm amongst the Rojiblancos supporters.

They love him in this corner of Madrid. No person within the club best encapsulates the spirit of the mattress makers than their manager.

And in essence, that is one of the main reasons why Atleti will be challenging for honours again this season.

Transfer policy

That and a studious transfer policy which has seen the likes of Torres, Aguero, Forlan and Falcao depart in the past to no great detriment.

Those supporters who had thought Atleti had reached their Everest last season only to fail to plant the flag at the death will like what they have seen already in the opening few games of the 2014/15 season.

Antoinne Griezmann is a more-than-adequate replacement for the outgoing Villa. His vibrancy and skill set is just what's needed to complement the more robust and direct Mario Mandzukic.

Goals aplenty

There are still goals aplenty in this side and whilst they may not score as many as the last campaign, the excellent business in keeping the defensive unit mainly together will ensure that not too many are scored against them either.

Ask any football connoisseur if they would be happy to have the likes of Koke, Miranda, Godin and Turan in their side. It's not even a question that needs asking is it.

Write them off again at your peril.

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