Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone has praised Real Sociedad after his side were deservedly defeated 3-0 by La Real at the Anoeta Stadium on Thursday evening.
Los Colchoneros went into the game knowing that a victory would strengthen their grip on second place after Real Madrid could only draw 1-1 to Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday evening.
However, Atletico fell behind in the 27th minute when Willian Jose smashed Adnan Januzaj's cross past Jan Oblak from 12 yards out to put the hosts ahead.
Imanol Alguacil's side continued to dominate the woeful visitors in the second half and doubled their advantage in the 80th minute when Juanmi chipped an excellent effort over Oblak before the Spaniard scored his second and Sociedad's third with a fine header seconds from time.
Atletico have now failed to win any of their last four games away from the Wanda Metropolitano, but Simeone believes those performances have been better than what the results suggest.
"The match against Villarreal was much more even and against Madrid as well. The first half in Lisbon was poor, but the second was good," the Argentine tactician is quoted as saying by Atletico Madrid's official website.
The former Lazio boss also saved praise for his opposition on the night.
"Today, we played poorly in the first half and in the second half we improved at first, but didn't have the regularity to find the equaliser. We have to congratulate Real Sociedad because they played a great match and won fairly."
Meanwhile, midfielder Thomas Partey echoed the sentiments of his boss, adding, as quoted by Atletico's website: "They played well and took advantage of their chances. We have to pick ourselves up and keep fighting. We have to go game by game and think about our game against Betis."
Los Colchoneros will next play host to Real Betis in the league on Sunday before they travel to London to face Arsenal in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final clash on Thursday.