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Zenit's Italian coach has nothing but respect for Diego Simeone's side following their Champions League encounter on Wednesday, in which the Spaniards ran out 3-1 winners

Zenit St Petersburg coach Luciano Spalletti believes that Atletico Madrid are on their way to becoming a force with which to be reckoned in Europe after they claimed a 3-1 over his side in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The Italian was powerless to prevent the Russians going down in their Group G opener at the Vicente Calderon as goals from Miranda, Arda Turan and Leo Baptistao gave the Spaniards the three points.

"It can be seen that Atletico are now in very good shape and going through a great moment," Spalletti said at a press conference.

"All the players are in good physical order and there are no such situations as we have, for example, with Hulk, who played his first match after injury.

"All the Atletico players are great. It is evident that the team are on the move. They have shown fighting spirit and in this match they have surpassed us."

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