Barcelona plan Spanish title party

Updated: 06 May 2011 14:15 IST

Barcelona, fresh from reaching the Champions League final, face a highly-charged derby against Espanyol on Sunday where victory could deliver the Spanish league title.

Barcelona plan Spanish title party

Barcelona:

Barcelona, fresh from reaching the Champions League final, face a highly-charged derby against Espanyol on Sunday where victory could deliver the Spanish league title.


With four games to go Barcelona have an eight-point lead over Real Madrid, their vanquished opponents in Europe, who go to Sevilla on Saturday.

Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola celebrated with his players on the Nou Camp pitch on Tuesday after reaching the Champions League final, but he now knows he must bring them back down to earth.

Only once the title is wrapped up will the coach let his star-studded side think about facing Manchester United in the final at Wembley on May 28.

"We have to be ready for the league games and hopefully we will have some players back fit," said Guardiola.

"It will be a key game on Sunday and a victory would take us closer to winning the title. The league is our main target as it gives us most credibility."

On the challenge of facing United, Guardiola still allowed himself a peek beyond this weekend and ahead to Wembley where he played in the 1992 Barcelona team which lifted the club's first ever European Cup.

"Of course it is the new Wembley and so it is not going to be as special going back there. It is a chance for us to show our way of football, to keep hold of the ball and move it around as quickly as possible."

Espanyol have struggled since Christmas and are four points off a European place despite beating rivals Athletic Bilbao last weekend.

It will be hard for embattled Real coach Jose Mourinho to lift his team who play a Sevilla side who have had a late surge to take them up to fifth.

Mourinho also has a potential UEFA sanction hanging over him after his controversial comments following his team's 2-1 defeat to Barcelona in the first leg of their stormy Champions League semi final.

Sevilla believe they are facing Real at the right time.

"We are in form at the moment. All year we have worked hard but we have lacked consistency and so it would be great to finish the season on a high note," said Sevilla striker Alvaro Negredo.

Valencia and Villarreal continue the battle for third place and Valencia maintain a three-point lead over their local rivals despite having lost their last two matches.

They entertain Real Sociedad while Villarreal must put their disappointment at being knocked out of the Europa League by Porto at the semi final stage behind them when they take on Mallorca.

Atletico Madrid are one of the favourites to claim a place in the Europa League with four wins out of five games and they now face Malaga while Bilbao, below them, are at home to Levante

At the other end of the table Almeria are practically relegated as they are 12 points from safety.

Fixtures:

Saturday:

Hercules v Racing Santander, Sporting Gijon v Deportivo La Coruna, Athletic Bilbao v Levante, Getafe v Almeria, Valencia v Real Sociedad, Atletico Madrid v Malaga, Sevilla v Real Madrid

Sunday:

Mallorca v Villarreal, Barcelona v Espanyol, Zaragoza v Osasuna



Topics : Football
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