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The former Spain international was enthused by los Blancos' 3-0 rout of Diego Simeone's side, while also hailing 20-year-old striker Jese Rodriguez as a genius

Real Madrid director Emilio Butragueno believes that Carlo Ancelotti's men produced their best peformance of the season in Wednesday’s Copa del Rey semi-final victory over city rivals Atletico.

A deflected effort from Pepe opened the scoring at the Santiago Bernabeu before second-half strikes from Jese Rodriguez and Angel di Maria secured los Blancos a 3-0 first-leg lead.

"It has definitely been their best game as a group, with an attitude of solidarity coming from everyone,” Butragueno told Marca.

“The players gave us a sensational match. Atletico had just one attempt on goal and that was from a set piece.

“The players kept their heads in a very hard-fought and intense game. They were up to the job.”

Butragueno singled Jese out for special praise, after the 20-year-old netted his third goal in his last three appearances for Madrid in all competitions.

“In such a close-run game, having a genius like Jese made the difference,” the former Spain striker argued.

“The second goal was superb because of its concept. The pass [from Di Maria] was great but that was because Jese ran in from 35 metres.”

The second leg of the semi-final will take place at the Vicente Calderon on February 11.

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