Santiago Bernabeu

Next Game

R Madrid v Barcelona

Saturday, 25 October 2014, 17:00

Spanish Primera BBVA

Camp Nou

Last Game

Barcelona 3 - 1 Ajax

Tuesday, 21 October 2014, 19:45

Champions League Group F

Iniesta demands Barca response

Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta has urged his shell-shocked side to help ease some of the pain of their Champions League humiliation by taking another step toward regaining the Primera Division title.

Last Updated: 26/04/13 at 13:14 Post Comment

Andres Iniesta: Focusing on regaining La Liga title for now

Andres Iniesta: Focusing on regaining La Liga title for now

Barca go into Saturday's clash at Athletic Bilbao with the wounds from their 4-0 semi-final first-leg thrashing by Bayern Munich on Tuesday still raw.

As well as all but ending their hopes of becoming European champions this season, the defeat has prompted talk of the end of an era at the Nou Camp and, combined with Borussia Dortmund's 4-1 win over Real Madrid, a power shift in the European game from Spain to Germany.

Iniesta, though, knows there is only one way for he and his beleaguered team-mates to respond.

"The only thing to do is to pick ourselves up and get back to winning the league," he said.

"Now we have to switch our focus, go to Bilbao, win and ensure that the league title is one game closer.

"Athletic will demand that we are at our best. We have the experience of playing them over the last few seasons and we know that it will be an intense and physical game."

Barcelona are 13 points clear at the top and could even secure the title on Saturday should they win and second-placed Real lose at derby rivals Atletico Madrid.

Any celebrations would surely be bitter-sweet with the memories of Munich still so fresh, but Iniesta claimed taking back the title would represent a successful season.

The Spain midfielder added: "This has been one of the toughest leagues of recent years and to come back and win it after we lost it last season is very important.

"It can't be called a bad season when you win the league. The Champions League might be more prestigious, but the league is the most important.

"It would be a mistake to say this had been a poor season, just because we didn't win the Champions League."

For all Barcelona's current travails, Athletic's problems put them in perspective.

Last season's Europa League and Copa del Rey runners-up still need points to mathematically guarantee their safety, although their eight-point cushion over the relegation zone with six games to go could be enough.

While Athletic have not won in three games in the league, Barca have won their last three, scoring nine and conceding none.

And Athletic boss Marcelo Bielsa feels it is premature to draw drastic conclusions about the strength of the Primera Division based on two games.

"Comparing two leagues from two games and two results offered such sweeping conclusions seems excessive," he was quoted as saying by Marca.

Barcelona still have problems at the back with the injured Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano both still unavailable.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

S

ome of these are quality! Why you no like him F365?? :(

left right out
The, Erm, 'Best' Of Henry James Redknapp

W

e're our own worst enemy. We're suicidal in defence, and we may just get slaughtered on Sunday. Other than that, I am very pleased with my team.

bob the manc
Van Gaal: We can catch Chelsea

B

alotelli would've scored if the goals height was 3 times higher too...

footyfan52
Rodgers defends Balotelli

Footer 365

Sky Bet League One: Bristol City held, by Bradford City Peterborough lose at Crewe

Bristol City were held by Bradford, but the 2-2 draw saw the Robins set a new club record for league games unbeaten.

Derby go top, Forest draw at Watford

Chris Martin's 81st-minute penalty sent Derby to the top of the league after the Rams grabbed a 1-0 win over Blackpool.

Champions League: Schalke leave it late to beat Sporting Lisbon 4-3

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting scored a 92nd-minute penalty to earn Schalke a 4-3 win over Sporting Lisbon in Group G.

Mail Box

Are There Any Happy Fans Out There?

It seems as if Chelsea, West Ham and Southampton are the only content supporters right now. We have more doom and gloom for you. Who wants good news, eh..?

Is Van Gaal Just A Dutch Pardew?

A Mailbox of comparisons. Van Gaal is similar to Pardew, Wenger to Moyes, Van Persie to a spent force, and Pelle to a bloody gent. There's also plenty from last night...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property