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Youth dominance yet to produce


Prem Forecaster: The relegation race

Premier League
By ESPN Staff

Manzano hails Falcao

Coach Gregorio Manzano believes Atletico Madrid fans may have to venture deep down memory lane to recall a striker who has made as much of an impact as Radamel Falcao has in such a short time.

Atletico splashed out a club record €40 million to bring in Falcao from Porto this summer as they sought to replace the goals lost by the departures of Sergio Aguero and later Diego Forlan, and the Colombia international has already started paying that sum back - and in some fashion.

He was unavailable for Atletico's first game of the season, a disappointing goalless draw at home to Osasuna, and was unable to find the target in the following match which saw Manzano's men lose 1-0 at Valencia, but in the last week he has netted six times in three outings.

The 25-year-old got his account up and running in the Europa League win over Celtic, then struck a hat-trick in Sunday's 4-0 victory over Racing Santander before adding two more in Wednesday night's 4-0 triumph over Sporting Gijon.

Falcao has also provided more than just goals to the team, with Manzano saying: "He's a great goalscorer for our fans to enjoy and for Spanish football. You would have to go back into Atletico Madrid's history to be able to find a player who, in seven days, has created so many chances, hit the woodwork or had so many goals ruled out, and who has been so effective in such a short period of time as he's had.

"We're not surprised that he's scored so many goals, because he's done that throughout his professional career, but we are surprised that he's adapted so quickly. Also, more than his work, you need to emphasise his humility, he's a great team-mate and the dressing room likes and respects him.

"I'm sure that he's going to be rubbing shoulders with the great goal-scorers of our league like Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo."


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