Madrid - Barcelona striker Luis Suarez insists the Catalans
are "obliged" to chase down Real Madrid at the top of La Liga,
despite losing more ground on the European champions in a 1-1 draw at
Villarreal on Sunday.
Even a fabulous last minute Lionel Messi free-kick couldn't
prevent Barca falling five points behind Madrid, who also have a game in hand,
after Nicola Sansone had put Villarreal in front just after half-time.
The draw capped a poor return to action in the new year for
Barca after losing the first leg of their Copa del Rey last 16 tie at Athletic
Bilbao on Thursday.
"We are aware that we are Barcelona and we are obliged
to fight for all the titles," Suarez told Spanish TV station Movistar.
Barca host Bilbao in the return leg on Wednesday hoping to
avoid a first Cup exit to anyone other than Madrid since 2008.
"What matters now is the Cup game on Wednesday,"
"We have to go out from the first minute to win the
game and qualify."
Suarez had an unusually quiet night in front of goal as most
of Barca's opportunities fell the way of his strike partners Neymar and Messi.
"They have shown all season that they are very
difficult to play against at home. We had our chances in the second-half, but
we couldn't take them until Leo's goal," added Suarez.
"We've let two points get away, but we just have to
keep working hard."
Barca boss Luis Enrique believed his side had done enough to
win the game despite a familiar lack of cutting edge up front and fragility at
the back this season.
Also read: Suarez signs contract extension with Barcelona until 2021
"Without doubt I think we deserved to win the
game," he said.
"We played well. We are not on the most positive run
and you have to do more to win these type of games, but I have no criticism for
"They played a complete game and we deserved the three
And with still over half the league season to go, Enrique
insisted Barca still have time to chase down Madrid.
"There is still half the season to go and I am sure we
will have the chance to fight for the league," he added.
"The only chance we will have to fight for the title,
though, is by getting back to winning soon. To keep playing like this but with
a different result."
Off the field, rumours emanating from Croatia claimed on
Sunday that Barca midfielder Ivan Rakitic could be on his way to Manchester
City after being left out of Enrique's squad.
However, Barca vice-president Jordi Mestre said the Croatian
was "loved" at the Camp Nou and that negotiations were ongoing to
extend his contract beyond 2019.
"We are negotiating Rakitic's renewal," Mestre
"We love Rakitic as a player and as a person. At the
moment he has a contract and is a Barca player."For
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