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SPANISH PRIMERA LIGA

Barcelona still believe in Clasico chances, says Andres Iniesta

Midfielder says club can topple arch rivals Real Madrid to remain in title race - but champions must play 'perfect' game at Bernabeau stadium

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 March, 2014, 9:14pm
UPDATED : Friday, 21 March, 2014, 9:15pm
 

Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta insists the Catalans can turn around their poor away form and put themselves right back in their La Liga title race by beating leaders Real Madrid on Sunday.

Barca lie in third, four points adrift of Real, having won just one of their last five away games in La Liga.

However, Iniesta believes the Spanish champions showed in their two recent games against Manchester City in the Champions League that they are capable of beating anyone on their day.

"We have had bad days, like everyone, but no one can think that Madrid will beat us easily," he said.

"It is difficult to think that there are Barca fans that don't believe in us. This team have won the right to believe in them no matter what the situation is."

It is difficult to think that there are Barca fans that don't believe in us. This team have won the right to believe in them no matter what the situation is
Andres Iniesta

Barca boss Gerardo Martino will have the luxury of a fully fit squad to choose from and looks set to name the same side in successive matches for just the second time all season.

And Iniesta urged his teammates to impose themselves on the game rather than being cowed by the atmosphere at the Bernabeu.

"We need to play a perfect game because that is what the opponent will demand of us, but we are capable of doing so.

"More than thinking about them, we need to think about ourselves. We need to be Barca, to be brave. If we are not then it won't go well for us.

" When things have gone well, it is because we have played like that."

Madrid haven't been beaten in 31 games in all competitions since the two sides met at the Camp Nou.

That run has allowed Carlo Ancelotti's men to overtake Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, while also progressing to the Copa del Rey final and the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

However, the Italian stressed they too have to be at their best if they want to all but see off Barcelona's title chances.

"Since the game in the first half of the season we have improved a lot," said Ancelotti. "We will need to be at our best, though, as you need to be at 100 per cent to beat Barcelona."

Real did suffer a blow in midweek as 21-year-old forward Jese Rodriguez was ruled out for the rest of the season with cruciate ligament damage in his right knee.

That will not affect Ancelotti's starting line-up, though, as the likes of Luka Modric, Angel di Maria, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema will return to the side after being rested from the start in the 3-1 win over Schalke on Wednesday.

The biggest winners of the weekend could be Atletico as at least one of their title rivals is guaranteed to drop points, while they travel to bottom of the table Real Betis.

Diego Simeone's men will go top for a few hours at least should they win at the Benito Villamarin on Sunday before Real and Barca kick-off.

And Ancelotti warned his Real side not to underestimate Atletico's title challenge even if they do see off Barcelona.

"It will be an open game, but I don't think it will decide the league because Atletico are there too. I think the league will be decided in the last game of the season."

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