Atletico are now 10 points in front of fifth-placed Villarreal, the first team out of the qualification zone for the Champions League.
Diego Simeone was delighted with the response of his Atletico Madrid team after a "difficult" opening 15 minutes against Real Sociedad.
Simeone thanked the home supporters at Vicente Calderon after his team moved three points above Sevilla in fourth, having played a game more than Jorge Sampaoli's men.
If Simeone can convince the player that the project next year is worth sticking around for, together they might repel Real Madrid's advances but if Hernandez really does want to leave, there are few (maybe even none) clubs in the world that can match Real Madrid for stature.
Atletico was in control from the start and Luis found the net from close range in the 28th minute after a quick exchange of passes with Antoine Griezmann and Fernando Torres.
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Also, Athletic Bilbao beat Espanyol 2-0. The Brazilian left back had not yet scored this season.
The deal is possible but you have a pissed-off Atletico, who will try to create hurdles for Real Madrid and you also have a fairly resolute Real Madrid, who are keen to line up Marcelo's replacement even if Theo is just one name on Real Madrid's list.
Atletico overtook Sevilla for third place last weekend after having dropped to as low as sixth in the standings earlier in the competition.
"Next up for Atleti is a trip to arch rivals and league leaders Real Madrid, followed by the Champions League quarter-final first leg at home to Leicester next Wednesday".
Real Madrid Sociedad's brilliant game in the course of the current season allowed to come to the finish line as one of the favorites and contenders for a ticket to the European Cup.