Atletico Madrid right-back Juanfran feels his club is now among the top four in Spain.
The 27-year-old also believes the team has come on leaps and bounds since the appointment of Diego Simeone in December.
“I think this season is the time for us to qualify for the Champions League. Last year our level of performance improved greatly after Simeone’s arrival and we were knocking on the door in the end,” Juanfran told Mundo Deportivo.
“I think we are among the top four teams in Spain and this year we have to make sure Atletico Madrid get into the Champions League.
“It’s true that La Liga is very difficult because the level Barca and Real Madrid play at makes it that way, but Atletico must be among the top four, of course, and our supporters deserve it.”
On a personal level, Juanfran says his game has improved immensely under Simeone and he now has a special relationship with the fans.
“Since playing under El Cholo I have connected really well with the supporters. These people appreciated it when I was not playing well as I continued to fight and still believed I would be a success with Atleti.
“Therefore, when things are going well, the fans remember when times were not so good and they appreciate it if you still work hard and have the same ambitions.
“I still have those ambitions to be an important player at the club and I try to give everything in every game when defending the Atletico jersey, and the fans like that,” he explained.