Atletico Madrid is in the quarter-finals of the Champions League but captain Koke worries they could miss out on the competition next season.
Koke claims the 1-1 draw by Atletico Madrid at Athletic Bilbao has hurt their qualification chances in the Champions League.
“We knew it was going to be a very difficult game,” he told. “There was a bit of speculation about how the teams were going to come back to the league action but we both went out to win the game.
“Once you’ve just scored you normally relax a little bit and that’s what happened to us today.
“But we have to take the positives. We managed to compete against one of the best teams in the league and unfortunately we couldn’t get three points.”
Diego Costa’s 39th-minute goal on the end of a clever Koke pass ensured the short-lived splendid strike given to Athletic by Iker Muniain for the first-half advantage.
However, when he drew a point-blank save from Unai Simon 10 minutes from time, Atleti was unable to impact a complete turnaround, with replacement Santiago Arias coming nearest to a winner.
“I believe it was a very strength-based game. It was a tough situation to be in,” Koke told LaLiga TV, after the draw moved sixth-placed Atleti level on points with Getafe and Real Sociedad, the latter of whom take on Osasuna in Sunday’s late kick-off.
“We didn’t take our chances. We have to suffer and accept the draw. We want to be in the Champions League and we need to get hold of the points.
“It’s difficult from this position that we’re in.
“They were better placed than us all over the pitch. We managed to change things after the first goal and a couple of minutes after found the equaliser.
“Santi had the chance at the end to get us the win.”
Together with the powerful Muniain, ex-Atleti forward Raul Garcia inspired the hosts and ruled his team-mates off as Costa struck back.
This game means that Los Colcheneros have now won just one of their last 11 away matches in LaLiga, with Sunday’s back-closed-door encounter in San Mames setting an unwanted club record for their 13th draw of the season.
Copa del Rey finalists Athletic lie in 10th position, five points behind Valencia who are seventh, which is likely to be the last Europa League qualifying spot, should they lose to rivals Sociedad in the showpiece.