Madrid: Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone said he believes Valencia have the third best squad in Spain after his side could only manage a 1-1 draw with Los Che.
Real Madrid's 1-1 draw at Real Zaragoza on Saturday had given Atletico the chance to overtake their city rivals and move back into second place, but despite having to settle for a point Simeone was happy to have maintained their 15-point advantage over Valencia who remain in sixth.
"They have one of the best squads in best, the third best behind Barcelona and Real Madrid," he told a press conference yesterday.
"Therefore we are proud of our players at this moment. In the first-half Valencia played very well. They have a very talented and competitive squad and they played like that.
"We were lucky to have created danger in the few chances we did have and in the second-half we took they game to them and tried to win."
The game got off to a flying start with both goals arriving in the opening six minutes.
Valencia took advantage of a nervy start from the hosts as Jonas prodded through Thibaut Courtois' legs from Joao Pereira's cross.
Simeone's men were level within a minute though as Arda Turan's cross was expertly guided in at the far corner by Radamel Falcao for his 22nd league goal of the campaign.
Despite that setback Valencia went on to control the first-half as Atletico struggled to contain the midfield trio of Dani Parejo, Ever Banega and Tino Costa.
Parejo saw a long-range free-kick fly just over the bar before Courtois was forced into a fine double save by efforts from Pablo Piatti and Jonas.
However, for all their dominance Valencia could easily have gone into the break behind as Diego Alves did well to parry Gabi's free-kick.
That effort seemed to galvanise Atletico who dominated the second period.