Suarez wants Barca to be 'strong mentally'

Barcelona's Luis Suarez admitted that the team had no explanation for their recent slump but was glad that they are still in control of their own destiny.
Barcelona's Luis Suarez admitted that the team had no explanation for their recent slump but was glad that they are still in control of their own destiny.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

BARCELONA • Barcelona need to keep cool heads when they chase a 24th La Liga crown at Granada in their final fixture of the season today, said striker Luis Suarez.

Barca have won their last four matches, after going four games without a victory last month to allow Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid back in the title race.

Only Real can now catch Luis Enrique's side after Levante beat Atletico 2-1 last week to end their championship hopes.

Barca lead the way with 88 points, one more than Real. Atletico are three points off the pace but have an inferior head-to-head record against the Catalan club.

Real must win at Deportivo La Coruna and hope Barca fail to beat Granada if they are to land a first league title since 2012.

"We have to be very strong mentally... at some moment we're going to suffer but that's normal, especially when you're the visiting side," Suarez told a news conference on Thursday.

He said it was difficult to explain how Barca went from an unbeaten run of 39 games to going four matches without a win and being knocked out of the Champions League.

"We can't find an explanation for it but we have been more united than ever and we've shown the team are still alive," he added. "We all dug in and now we depend on ourselves to win the league."

Barca are missing goalkeeper Claudio Bravo and forward Sandro Ramirez through injury, but otherwise have a full squad to choose from.

Real Madrid's Keylor Navas, Dani Carvajal, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale have recovered from injury in time to face Deportivo.

Real thrashed Deportivo 5-0 in January in Zinedine Zidane's first game as coach, and are on a run of 11 consecutive wins that slashed what was once a 12-point deficit to one.

He said yesterday: "That is the dream. I have been at this club for a long time as a player, then in many different roles and now finally as coach... I want to do my utmost to ensure we win matches."

"I don't think they will go out on the pitch relaxed," said Real defender Marcelo. "Teams always play their best against Madrid and I am sure Deportivo will want to win."

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2016, with the headline 'Suarez wants Barca to be 'strong mentally''. Print Edition | Subscribe