Madrid - Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone said he was proud of his side's title challenge, despite a 2-1 defeat to already-relegated Levante on Sunday ending their hopes of winning La Liga.
Fernando Torres had given Atletico the perfect start with the opening goal inside two minutes.
However, Simeone's men seemed to suffer from the aftereffects of sealing their place in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich in midweek, as goals from Victor Casadesus and former Manchester United forward Giuseppe Rossi mathematically ended Atletico's title chances with just one game remaining.
"There aren't any excuses. We are ending a fantastic season and we are one game away from competing with Barcelona and Real Madrid," said Simeone.
"That makes me happy because in other years we were out of it with 10 games remaining.
"We were a little bit short. I am hurting to fall at the penultimate hurdle, but I am delighted to have been fighting until now for the championship. I am so proud of what we have done."
Simeone was made to pay for leaving top scorer Antoine Griezmann and inspirational defender Diego Godin on the bench with one eye possibly on Atletico's clash with Real in the Champions League final later this month.
However, he also lauded Levante's performance just six days after their relegation to the second division was confirmed.
"What Levante have done is enormously noble. They have gone down and they fought until the end," added Simeone.
"That is what makes football great that a team can come from playing in the semi-finals of the Champions League and lose."