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Yannick Carrasco's hard work paid off with hat trick - Diego Simeone

Yannick Carrasco celebrates his first goal against Granada.
Yannick Carrasco scored three times in Atletico's rout of Granada.

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone hailed Yannick Carrasco's willingness to learn after the Belgium winger recorded a hat trick in Saturday's 7-1 win against Granada kept his side top of the table in La Liga.

Bottom side Granada stunned the Estadio Vicente Calderon by going ahead early through Isaac Cuenca's stunning volley, but Carrasco soon equalised with a little help from the visitors' Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.

Carrasco's deflected effort put Atletico ahead just before half-time, and the former Monaco attacker soon completed his hat trick, with substitute Nico Gaitan adding to the scoreline with two excellent finishes, and fellow replacement Tiago lashing in the seventh close to full-time.

The Colchoneros' coach said in his postmatch news conference that he was delighted that Carrasco was getting a reward for the "struggle" at training day-to-day to become a better player.

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"I am very happy for [Carrasco]," Simeone said. "It is a daily struggle, to get him to what you saw in this game. He is a very complete player, with great potential, he wants to improve and he listens, he scores goals, beats people with the ball."

Atletico were behind for 16 minutes after ex-Barcelona youngster Cuenca's superb goal, but they kept forcing the issue and by the end the Granada defence had disintegrated almost completely.

"The game did not begin badly, it was not going the wrong way," Simeone said. "[Granada] competed well and their goal woke up again what we had been doing. Then the equaliser came, the 2-1 with a bit of luck, and the second half was very good."

Atletico have now scored at least four goals in three of their opening eight leagues games -- having managed four just once in their 38 last season.

Simeone again chose a very attacking XI with four attackers and the creatively minded Koke in central midfield but said the idea did not change -- his players always had to work hard for the team.

"We tried to get width with Correa and Carrasco, to do damage in behind their midfielders, with Gabi and Koke holding their position," the Argentine said.

"The essence of the team does not change -- Correa has three yellow cards already, as the forwards must work for the team. The results are helping us, and we are getting closer to what we want."

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan

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