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Barcelona v Sporting Gijon: Suarez not expecting rivals to slip up

Luis Suarez expects Barcelona’s La Liga title rivals Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid to win all four of their remaining matches, warning his team-mates they cannot afford to drop any further points as the battle to be crowned champions goes down to the wire.

Luis Enrique’s men emphatically returned to form with an 8-0 win at Deportivo La Coruna on Wednesday after picking up only one point from their previous four La Liga matches.

This month also saw Barca crash out of the Champions League to Diego Simeone’s men as their season threatened to collapse.

The Depor victory – in which Suarez scored four goals and set up another three in an astonishing individual performance – leaves Barca top of the table, but Atletico are level on points and Zinedine Zidane’s men sit just one adrift.

The Uruguay international now has 30 league goals to his name and thinks his team will have to win all of their final matches to secure back-to-back titles, with Sporting Gijon the visitors to Camp Nou on Saturday.

“It is down to us,” Suarez, 29, was quoted as saying at a charity event. “We know it is unlikely that our rivals will slip up because they are the best sides in La Liga.

“We know that with the games remaining they probably won’t drop points, but that should not affect us. 

“It is true that they will be playing more matches because of the Champions League, but tiredness in these circumstances will not affect them. Sometimes tiredness doesn’t exist.”

After playing Sporting – who are back in the bottom three and under pressure after relegation rivals Granada and Getafe both won on Thursday – Barca have an away game with Real Betis and a home Catalan derby against Espanyol.

Their league campaign then ends at Granada, a match that could have a bearing on whether Sporting suffer relegation in their first season back in the top flight.

Defender Marc Bartra acknowledged that the win over Depor was much needed and was thrilled to see the club’s MSN strikeforce of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Suarez all find the target after a difficult spell.

“One of the best bits of news is that the three up front have found their scoring touch again,” he said. “We needed this win. Not just for the three points, but also to boost our morale as a team. Justice was done.

“We have sent out a strong message, but we know that the games we ahead of us are going to be very important too.”

Sporting are fighting hard against the drop – they have only lost one of their last five games and recorded stunning 2-1 wins over Atletico and Sevilla during that span, though both of those results came at home.

They suffered a 3-1 defeat to Barca in February’s reverse fixture, with Messi scoring twice and Suarez netting the other for the champions.

Thu 21 Apr, 2016
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