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The Portuguese is optimistic about his former side's chances in Europe and La Liga and thinks their win over Real Madrid will prove to be a big boost

EXCLUSIVE
By Adrian Boullosa

Former Portugal international Maniche believes that Atletico Madrid have what it takes to spring a surprise in the UEFA Champions League this season.

The Vicente Calderon side impressed on matchday one with a 3-1 win over Zenit St Petersburg and Maniche - who wore the Atleti jersey from 2006 until 2009 - feels they can cause an upset in European club football's elite competition should luck be on their side this season.

"Teams like Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are the favourites, regardless of whether they are going through a difficult moment. They are used to the pressure," Maniche told Goal.

"However, teams like Atletico and Porto could go far if they have a bit of luck.

"It's not easy to win the Champions League, but anything is possible."

Maniche then went on to discuss Atletico's title credentials following their perfect start to the 2013-14 La Liga campaign.

"I think Atletico can go all the way based on what I've seen and the way they've been playing. Atleti are a strong candidate to win La Liga," continued the former Chelsea man.

"Their players are high on confidence, have a lot of quality and have a strong relationship with the coach [Diego Simeone]."

The 35-year-old also had his say on Atleti's 1-0 win over Real Madrid at the weekend and believes the team have overcome a big psychological barrier by beating their rivals.

"They put in a great performance to breach a psychological wall. This weekend's game showed that Atletico are brimming with confidence," he added.

"It's always important to win in La Liga, but it's even more important to do so against Real Madrid. This will be a big boost for Atleti for the remainder of the season."

Atletico will be looking to continue their fine start to the season on Tuesday when they take on Porto in Group G of the Champions League.

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