Celta Vigo boss Luis Enrique has tipped Atletico Madrid to push Barcelona all the way in the race for the title after watching his side fall to a 2-1 defeat to the joint-leaders of the Primera Division.
Two goals from Diego Costa - who also missed a first-half penalty - meant Nolito's 70th-minute strike was nothing more than a consolation for the visitors and handed Atleti their eighth win from as many league games.
Diego Simeone's side have not won the title since 1996, but Enrique believes they can improve on their third-place finish last season and challenge with Real Madrid and Barcelona.
"They are the most powerful opponent we've faced this season," he told reporters. "If they keep on playing this well then I can't see why they won't be near the top."
Celta crashed to their fourth defeat of the season but Enrique has vowed to turn their form around.
"We're playing good football," he added, "but the big question for me is: Where are the results coming from?
"I've almost always found solutions to these problems in my career and hopefully it will happen this time as well."