MADRID: Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola has conceded that the Spanish
Primera Liga title is all but lost, although he has promised the team
will fight till the end.
Although Barcelona carved out a
2-1 away victory over Atletico Madrid on Sunday, league leaders Real
Madrid's 1-0 win over Rayo Vallecano means that the gap between Jose
Mourinho's side and the Catalan club remains at 10 points.
That, in turn, drove Guardiola to acknowledge
that the gap at this stage of the competition could mean the league
crown is now beyond their reach.
'I have the impression that we will not win La Liga, the point difference is very big,' he said.
'I don't think we will win the league, but
we'll compete to be the team that we have been in the past. We will
continue competing in every match.'
If Guardiola's prediction comes true, it will
mean the end of a successful run for the 41-year-old, who has been
winning the league since he took charge of Barcelona in mid-2008.
Likewise, Barcelona captain Carles Puyol has
vowed that his team will continue to snap at Real's heels despite the
seemingly Herculean task of overtaking their bitter rivals at the top.
Calling on his teammates to continue winning
in the hope that Mourinho's men drop points, he said: 'Mathematics may
be against us, but we will fight for the three points every week.'
Meanwhile, the Spanish media are convinced
that Mourinho is laying the foundations for a return to England after
signing up as a columnist with the new Sunday edition of the British
The move has annoyed the media in Spain because he is reluctant to do pre- and post-match media conferences.