Barcelona coach Quique Setien remains convinced his team can still win La Liga despite being knocked off the top of the table on Sunday by fierce rivals Real Madrid.
Los Blancos beat Real Sociedad 2-1 at Anoeta in a controversial match to move level on points with Barca. However, Zinedine Zidane’s team take first place due to a better head-to-head record. They will be crowned champions if they win their last eight games.
Setien was asked about his team’s title hopes during his pre-match press conference ahead of Tuesday’s La Liga clash against Athletic at the Camp Nou.
“The team trained very well today, a little bit of residual tiredness, but they trained very well. We are convinced we can win the league and we’ll be up there.
“I don’t think there’s a great difference between us and Real Madrid. They have to go to San Mames and play some tough teams, just like us. Every game is different. Yesterday Madrid won but could have drawn, just like we did at Sevilla.”
“It’s true that we are behind now but we still have the same amount as points. Obviously the margin of error is smaller for us but also for them. They can’t make errors either because, as we’ve seen many times before, the league title can been decided in the final games. We have eight games left and we still have the same objective which is to win every game and be there until the end.”
Barcelona lost 1-0 to Athletic on the opening day of the season in La Liga at San Mames. They were also beaten by the Basque side in the Copa del Rey back in February. However, Athletic has not won at the Camp Nou since 2001.
Controversy As Real Madrid Go Top
Real Madrid’s win on Sunday was full of talking points and controversy. Los Blancos were awarded a penalty when Vinícius Júnior went down under minimal contact, while Real Sociedad saw an equalizer chalked off by VAR. Karim Benzema scored Real Madrid’s second goal which was allowed to stand despite accusations of handball.
Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane did not want to talk about refereeing decisions after the match and felt his team fully deserved all three points, according to Goal’s Dejan Kalinic.
“What bothers me is that in the end we only talk about the referees, it seems that we have not done anything on the field. But we are not going to control the controversy. We won on the field and I think the victory is deserved.”
Real Madrid also saw a key decision go in their favor last time out against Valencia when Rodrigo had a goal ruled out that would have put the visitors in front. Los Blancos went on to win the game 3-0.
No Room for Error for Barcelona
Sunday’s results mean Barcelona has very little room for error in their final games and still have some tricky fixtures to overcome, starting with the visit of Athletic. Gaizka Garitano’s head to the Camp Nou after beating Real Betis 1-0 on Saturday.
The Catalan giants then head to Celta Vigo, who hammered Alaves 6-0 on Sunday, before hosting Atletico Madrid. Diego Simeone’s side has looked refreshed since the restart and has picked up two wins and a draw.