Kevin Gameiro says Atletico Madrid will not stop in their pursuit of LaLiga leaders Barcelona after he inspired Diego Simeone’s men to a 2-0 home win against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.
Atletico struggled to break down a stubborn Athletic at the Wanda Metropolitano before Simeone turned to Gameiro as his second substitute, taking off Koke and reconfiguring his side’s attack.
Gameiro subsequently repaid his boss with a goal and an assist, scoring from a pass from fellow French forward Antoine Griezmann before setting up Diego Costa to wrap up the points.
The 30-year-old has a knack for providing game-changing moments on February 18, having hit a five-minute hat-trick in a 4-1 rout of Sporting Gijon on the same date a year ago.
Atletico have now won five straight games in all competitions, with Gameiro on target in a 4-1 defeat of Copenhagen at Parken Stadium in the Europa League on Thursday.
And with Atleti cutting Barca’s cushion back down to seven points with 14 fixtures still to play and a trip to Camp Nou coming next month, Gameiro insists the title race is alive.
“It’s a good day for us, we’ve won and we’re still strong,” he told beIN SPORTS. “We must continue like this.
A goal and assist today and THIS 5-minute hat-trick #OnThisDay one year ago…
February 18th is ‘Kevin Gameiro Day!’
— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) February 18, 2018
“We will not stop, we know that we are playing well in this moment and we have to enjoy it.”
3 – Griezmann has assisted the last three Gameiro’s goals in La Liga. Friends. pic.twitter.com/ebC21ULnQE
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) February 18, 2018
Simeone had called for Atletico’s fans to show more support for Griezmann, who gestured silence to them by putting a finger to his lips late in a 1-0 win over Valencia earlier in the month.
Gameiro backed his compatriot, who was influential in the Copenhagen victory by scoring a brace to give Atleti a foot in the last 16 of the Europa League.
“It’s good for him and the team,” Gameiro added. “The team is with him because he is a magnificent player.”