Diego Simeone claimed that Atletico Madrid's 2-0 defeat to Espanyol on Sunday was not due to a lack of intensity and insisted that he would be proud of finishing as runners-up in La Liga.
Despite Sunday's defeat at the RCDE Stadium, Los Rojiblancos remain nine points clear of city rivals Real Madrid in second place and look set to secure their spot behind leaders Barcelona for a second consecutive season.
A brace from Borja Iglesias and a Diego Godin own goal compounded a routine defeat for Atletico as the visitors appeared to be off the pace against Espanyol but, as quoted by Goal, Simeone said after the game: "I don't think it was a lack of intensity.
"The match was a hard-fought one and it was competitive. Both teams were in it until the 60th minute, then that's when things didn't happen for us.
"Although we started the second half well with a good chance for [Alvaro] Morata, Espanyol improved and deserved the win."
Atletico had appeared on course to pose a more sustained title challenge to reigning champions Barcelona this season, but the Catalan giants have ultimately retained their title in comfortable fashion.
Despite the disappointment of another unsuccessful title-tilt, Simeone insisted that the competitiveness of La Liga is such that his side must be proud of their standing in the division.
"The Spanish league is fantastic," Simeone added. "So we will try to finish in the best possible position. We need one more point to finish second and it's on us to earn it.
"Being in the fight for second is positive and a thing we have to value."