Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes says that his side cannot afford to drop any more points if they are to successfully defend their La Liga title this season.
Barca were held to a 0-0 draw against Villarreal on Saturday, a result that now leaves them seven points behind league leaders Real Madrid, who recorded a 3-1 win over Real Zaragoza at the weekend.
“We have no more room for error,” Valdes told Sport. “We have dropped two important points against Villarreal. We have to win all the points that remain. And that’s what you get. If we want to fight for the league, we cannot fail anymore because there is a rival in front of us that is very strong.”
Valdes is also reluctant to accept injuries as a reason for Barca’s inconsistent form of late, although he suggests their trip to Japan for the FIFA Club World Cup might have taken its toll.
“Injuries can never be used as excuses,” Valdes added. “That would be a small team that does that. There is enough [strength in depth] to deal with all of the games. [But] I have the feeling that we are tired. But we are facing opponents who are also playing a lot and nobody here ever said that this would be easy. I cannot say exactly what is happening, really. The important thing is that the team is working hard but we must continue giving our all – and more if necessary.”
Not convinced that Barcelona can go through the rest of their La Liga campaign unbeaten. Their away form has been surprisingly poor this season, and until that improves they will not be able to close the gap on Real Madrid at the top of the table.
Barcelona travel to Valencia on Wednesday for the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final, before returning to La Liga action on Saturday when they entertain Real Sociedad.