rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Sports » Will Barca's Champions League exit hit their La Liga bid?

Will Barca's Champions League exit hit their La Liga bid?

Last updated on: April 14, 2016 14:12 IST

'We have to lift ourselves up, now's the time, because we're playing for La Liga and the King's Cup and they are two great competitions we want to win'

Barcelona

IMAGE:  Barcelona's Arda Turan and team-mates react following their Champions League exit. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images..

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique fears his side's shock elimination from the Champions League could disturb their bid to retain the La Liga title as they host Valencia on Sunday looking for a first win in four league games.

Successive defeats to Real Madrid and Real Sociedad have cut Barca's lead at the top of the table to from nine points to three, allowing second placed Atletico and Real, further four points behind, back into the title race.

Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat at Atletico sent Champions League holders Barcelona tumbling out of the competition they were favourites to retain, and Pique admitted doubt had started to seep into his team mates' minds.

"I'm not going to deny that it's been a very tough blow that we didn’t expect," he said.

"We have to lift ourselves up, now's the time, because we're playing for La Liga and the King's Cup and they are two great competitions we want to win."

Pique's pessimism contrasted with his positive and defiant responses after the defeats to Madrid and Real Sociedad, when he reaffirmed his belief Barca would still win the league.

"We are keen to bounce back and feel strong, but sometimes slumps arrive at the worst moment," he added.

Barca are boosted by the return of top scorer Luis Suarez from suspension, but midfielder Arda Turan is banned for picking up five bookings, and Jeremy Mathieu, Sandro Ramirez and Thomas Vermaelen are injured.

Valencia are 14th in La Liga on 37 points. They moved further away from the relegation zone after beating Sevilla 2-1 to earn a first win in five matches in coach Pako Ayesteran’s first home game in charge since succeeding Gary Neville.

It is Valencia’s first trip back to the Nou Camp since they were thrashed 7-0 by Barca in a harrowing King’s Cup semi-final first leg in February.

Second placed Atletico are back at the Vicente Calderon on Sunday to host struggling Granada, who are 17th and two points above the relegation zone, having drawn their last four games.

Atletico defender Filipe Luis is suspended, as is Granada forward Isaac Success.

Third placed Real Madrid face a local derby at struggling Getafe after La Liga top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo hit a hat-trick in a 3-0 win over Wolfsburg to seal their place in the Champions League semi-finals.

Juan Eduardo Esnaider will take charge of Getafe for the first time since succeeding Fran Escriba, who was sacked on Monday following a 10th defeat in 12 games, leaving the team 19th in the table and two points from exiting the relegation zone.

Source:
© Copyright 2018 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.