Diego Simeone has acknowledged that Atletico Madrid must improve if they are to secure a place in La Liga's top four.
Atleti laboured to a 1-1 draw with struggling Deportivo La Coruna last time out and sit in fifth place heading into Sunday's clash with a resurgent Valencia, who have moved clear of the relegation zone courtesy of three wins from their last four LaLiga fixtures.
And, although Simeone's side would move back above Real Sociedad and into the top four with a victory at the Vicente Calderon, the Argentine insists there is no margin for error.
"As always, we focus on the day-to-day and we're in the fifth position because Real Sociedad won and we still have to play," Simeone said.
"As I already said on other occasions, regarding the numbers, we are closer to being fourth than third, but LaLiga is very long, there are still many matches to be played, many points at stake, but it's clear that the margin for error is decreasing.
"But we have always competed in a very similar way. The players change, their characteristics vary, but we were always in the Champions League finals, and finishing in the top three.
"We can play better. It is not an easy season, especially with the injuries we have had.
"But if we achieve the goals we set out at the beginning of the season even with all these difficulties then it will be a magnificent year.
"We live under a huge demand, we live with it and we carry it forward, but this year is a difficult season and it would be wonderful to continue to be competing as we are doing.
"Against Valencia, we are going to face a rival who will demand a very good level from us. They have added more options in attack with the arrival of [Simone] Zaza, and they are playing well."