Barcelona coach Luis Enrique believes Atletico Madrid have what it takes to challenge for the Liga title right until the end of the season.
Diego Simeone’s men sit second in the table, level on 38 points with Barca, who have played a game less, but two clear of Real Madrid.
Atleti beat Barcelona and Madrid to the title in 2013-14 and Luis Enrique feels they are genuine contenders this term, too.
“I’m sure that Atletico are candidates for the title,” the Barcelona coach said at a news conference.
“They’ve already shown how good they are and I’m sure they’ll challenge for the league”
Luis Enrique is adamant Barcelona are hungry for more success, though, and has set his sights on yet another treble win after last season’s successes.
“We know how difficult it is to win again after having won trophies, but these players never get tired of winning,” he added.
“Our objective is to keep competing, improve certain aspects of our game and come to the end of the season with a chance of winning everything.”
Barca meet Espanyol on Saturday and Luis Enrique expects a tough encounter
“[New coach Constantin] Galca did a great job at Steaua. I know him and his taste for good football, you can see his influence already and Espanyol will undoubtedly make it tough for us,” the Barca coach stated.
“The derby is always a special game and for any Barca player it is nice to beat the city rivals and that will never change.”