Barcelona defender Gerard Pique said his side has it all to do if it is to retain the La Liga title this season after being held to a 0-0 draw at Sevilla on Friday, handing Real Madrid the chance to top the standings this weekend.
“Seeing how the matches have gone so far, it's going to be very difficult for us to win this league,” Pique said after the stalemate.
“The draw leaves us in a position where we no longer depend on ourselves and looking at the fixtures it's difficult to imagine Real Madrid are going to drop points but we'll still give everything to try and win it.”
Real trails Barca by three points and if it beats Real Sociedad on Sunday it will overtake the Catalans at the top of the standings due to a superior head-to-head record.
Zinedine Zidane's side beat Valencia 3-0 on Thursday with a superb second-half display and won 3-1 against Eibar in its first game back and the extra time off has allowed Eden Hazard and Marco Asensio to return from injury.
Barca had beaten Real Mallorca on its return and defeated struggling Leganes 2-0 although looked sluggish at times in both matches.
Pique said his side had deserved to beat third-placed Sevilla and cursed not being able to score.
“It was a very competitive game and we didn't play badly but this feels like two points dropped because we had more chances than them and they were looking tired towards the end,” he added.
“But they are third in the league, they are a top team so we should not be surprised that it was difficult.”
Barca coach Quique Setien said he was optimistic Real would also slip up and said Pique had made his downbeat prediction in the heat of the moment.
“I think Pique's words came from frustration. I'm sure he'll think different tomorrow, I'm certain that Real Madrid are not going to win every game,” he said.
“Opponents always put up a fight and they have some tough games left. We no longer depend on ourselves but we have to be optimistic.”
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