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Barcelona coach Xavi on La Liga clash with Atletico Madrid: ‘We can’t let our guard down”

Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez urged his side not to lose focus as they enter the final phase of the season.

The Catalans face third-placed Atletico Madrid at the Civitas Metropolitano on Sunday. A win for Barca would move them closer to the La Liga title.

However, Xavi has warned his side against complacency. They recently lost 4-0 to Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey and have failed to score in two subsequent league games.

Xavi said (via Barcelona’s official website): “A victory would virtually rule Atletico out of the race for La Liga. We have nine games left, nine finals. We can’t let our guard down.

“Atletico Madrid can dominate many facets of the game. They can press high up the pitch and are also comfortable in a low block.

Xavi announced the return of midfield duo Pedri and Frenkie de Jong. The pair have been out but returned to training this week.

Andreas Christensen and Ousmane Dembele are also close to a return, but will not feature this weekend.

Injuries have derailed Barca’s momentum, but they are still eight points ahead of Real Madrid, who beat Celta Vigo tonight.

A win tomorrow will further strengthen Barca’s grasp on the title. A loss or draw will hand Madrid more incentive to close the gap.

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