Atletico Madrid v Barcelona preview
Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita insists his side cannot be written off in the title race just yet.
Last Updated: 25/02/12 10:40am
Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita insists his side cannot be written off in the title race just yet, even though they face a tough ask to catch Primera Division leaders Real Madrid.
Just four wins in seven league matches since the start of 2012 have seen Pep Guardiola's men slip 10 points off the pace set by their great rivals.
A 5-1 hammering of Valencia last weekend helped raise spirits among Barca's ranks, and they will need to build on that when they travel to Atletico Madrid if they are to keep Real in their sights.
However, Keita is adamant there is still everything to play for with 15 matches of the campaign remaining.
"The season is long and anything can happen in football," the Malian said on www.fcbarcelona.com.
"We will do our very best to try to win as many games as possible.
"This (Atletico) is a very important match and, with 10 points between us, we can't afford to drop any more points. However, Atletico is a team that's so strong now - it will be tough and difficult.
"Anything can happen in football and we'll fight to the end. If Madrid are leaders, it's because they deserve to be.
"We just have to do everything we can to win as many games as possible."
Injured duo David Villa and Ibrahim Afellay remain on the sidelines for Barca.
Atletico lie sixth in La Liga, but a 4-1 aggregate victory over Lazio in the Europa League in midweek has left coach Diego Simeone and his players in confident mood ahead of the visit of Barca.
Simeone said: "We were very happy with the match against Lazio. The response was very good from the lads.
"The good thing about us is that we do not underestimate anyone, we have a lot of respect for our opponents.
"We're now ready to go against Barcelona and will aim for the best performance we can give."
Midfielder Juanfran echoed his manager's sentiments, saying: "It will be an incredible game for us with our team against Barcelona. Let's go for the three points that we need."
Arda Turan (thigh), Salvio (ankle) and Adrian (muscle) are all expected to play for Atletico despite suffering from various knocks.