Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone was left satisfied with his teams' efforts during their goalless draw with Spanish capital rivals Real Madrid on Saturday evening, and has defended out-of-form Antoine Griezmann, who was subjected to a chorus of boos as he was replaced in the second half.
Atleti, who stretched their impressive recent La Liga form over Los Blancos to just one defeat in nine thanks to the stalemate, lost ground, along with their weekend's opponents, on league leaders Barcelona following the Catalonians' 3-0 win over Leganes earlier in the day.
The draw now leaves Rojiblancos with a truly daunting gap of 10 points to overcome if they are to mirror their heroics of 2014 and lift the title, a feat, given their recent form, that does not look an easy one.
However, despite all but ending their championship hopes for this year, Simeone was pleased with his side's performance, but believes they could have been more composed in front of goal.
"We played an important game, against a very strong opponent", the Argentine told AS following the complete shut out, as quoted by Sky Sports.
Full time: Atletico Madrid 0-0 Real Madrid.— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) November 18, 2017
Ninety minutes of our lives we will never, ever get back!
"We could have won and we could have lost. It's true that the team has anxiety. We are in a moment where we're not finding goals easy to come by. I'm happy with the first 30 minutes."
Los Colchoneros became the first side to stop Real netting an away goal since the appointment of boss Zinedine Zidane in 2016, however Atleti also found it hard themselves to create many goalscoring opportunities.
One man who is so often called upon to provide Atleti's attacking outlet is Griezmann, who once again looked out of sorts and the game seemed to pass the Frenchman by.
The Wanda Metropolitano faithful were privy to this, and the 67,000 capacity made their feelings known by booing the 26-year-old off the field as he was replaced by Fernando Torres with 15 minutes to go.
"I back members of my family to the death", Simeone told the post-match press conference when asked about the reaction to the attacker, who has not scored in eight games, from his own supporters.
"And I'm not going to change now. Every player has to turn up, not only Griezmann."