Atletico Madrid captain Gabi believes a win in next week’s Madrid derby would seal a second-placed finish for the club this season.
Los Rojiblancos lead their city rivals by four points in the race for second while a title looks unlikely, with Barcelona nine points out in front with just eight games remaining.
“The clash next Sunday is crucial in the race for second spot,” Gabi is cited as saying by Marca.
“Our aim this season is to secure second spot – we enter every season hoping to guarantee a top three finish but second is a bonus which is now within our reach.
“Since Diego (Simeone) came to the club we look to challenge the very best sides in the league and of course we dream of repeating our league title from four years ago, but it is hard to see Barcelona slipping up so much.
“The win (against Deportivo) was important as every game is, we played well and worked hard.”