Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone said Sunday’s 1-1 draw with La Liga rivals Valencia was a fair result.
German midfielder Shkodran Mustafi’s 78th-minute header cancelled out Koke’s first-half opener as Valencia left the Vicente Calderon with a share of the spoils.
While Atletico failed to extend their lead ahead of fourth-placed Valencia, Simeone took heart from an impressive opening 45 minutes in Madrid.
“We played a great first half. We played in the rival’s field, pressuring at their backs very well and won all the duels,” Simeone told reporters post-game.
“It is a fair result but I’ll take the work of the first half, which was very good.”
Sunday’s result left Atletico (55) one point ahead of Valencia (54) and the reigning champions are now seemingly targeting a third-place finish, with Barcelona (62) and Real Madrid (61) going head-to-head at the summit.
“I think that the league is long and our championship, as we have always said, is competing against Valencia and Sevilla,” Simeone added.
“We still have that one point off that we have to look after.”
Atletico centre-back Diego Godin echoed his coach’s comments post-game, telling Canal Plus that the Madrid club are in a battle for the third and final UEFA Champions League automatic qualification spot.
“We are going to continue thinking about the next match, as we said at the beginning of the tournament,” the Uruguayan said.
“Our rivals are Sevilla and Valencia. We only need to win.”