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
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.