Diego Simeone has underlined the sheer importance of Atletico Madrid's 2-0 victory over Rayo Vallecano on Sunday.
Angel Correa scored both goals at Wanda Metropolitano as the reigning champions got back to winning ways in LaLiga, ending a run of four straight defeats.
Los Rojiblancos leapfrogged their opponents to fourth place after a sixth successive victory in the fixture – and a fifth consecutive clean sheet.
Back on the touchline after recently returning a positive COVID-19 test, Simeone was in danger of becoming the first Atletico boss to lose five league games on the spin since Ricardo Zamora in 1942.
But the Argentinian, who has now lost just one of his 14 matches against Vallecano as a manager in all competitions, was pleased with the attitude shown by his squad.
"Winning was tremendously important, and the players showed it by how they faced the game," he said.
"I like what I've seen. [It was] a great match individually and collectively.
"You saw a serious, tough, strong team that knew what it needed. When there were spaces, we ran; when it was time to close, we did. It was important.
"The reality is the results and in the previous matches, we did good things, but the mistakes hit us more than we deserved.
"We are working to find regularity in the defensive aspect, which is always important. The collective work has been very good and against a team that was fit, which we had to pass in the table."
Atletico, who trail leaders Real Madrid by 14 points with a game in hand, switch focus to the Copa del Rey on Thursday with a trip to third-tier Rayo Majadahonda.