Apr 11, 2016

    Barca only 3 pts ahead of Atletico after 1-0 defeat


    BARCELONA boss Luis Enrique urged his side to show they are still the best team in the world in the final two months of the season after losing 1-0 to Real Sociedad on Saturday - their second consecutive La Liga setback.

    The European champions saw their lead at the top of La Liga shrink to three points over Atletico Madrid with six games remaining after they beat Espanyol 3-1.

    Real Madrid are also in the title race a point further adrift as they saw off Basque minnows Eibar 4-0.

    "We have never said the league is over," said Enrique.

    "It is a marvellous opportunity to show we are the best team in the world and that is why we carry that badge on our chest."

    Barca have taken just one point from their last three league games to see a commanding lead slip away.

    But they still need to drop points in two of their remaining matches to surrender top spot, thanks to their better head-to-head record with Atletico.

    Defeat also continued Barca's miserable run at Sociedad's Anoeta stadium, where they have now lost on their last four league visits.

    Barca also face a huge challenge to maintain their hopes of becoming the first side to retain the Champions League when they visit Atletico for their quarter-final, second leg, on Wednesday.

    The Catalans travel to Madrid with a 2-1 lead, handed to them by Luis Suarez's double, after Atletico had been reduced to 10 men in the first leg.

    As well as missing the suspended Suarez, Enrique had left Andres Iniesta, Ivan Rakitic and Jordi Alba on the bench with one eye on the visit to the Vicente Calderon.

    Barca defender Gerard Pique has called for a big reaction from his team-mates to ensure their Champions League dream is not snuffed out by Atletico.

    "The important game is on Wednesday. That is when we have the most important competition at stake.

    "No team can do everything perfectly all season. We know what we have to improve on." AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE