Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde believes that the La Liga title is still up for grabs despite Barcelona’s 11 point lead atop the La Liga table.
Despite losing Neymar in a surprising turn of events during the summer transfer window, Barcelona has somehow managed to stay unbeaten in the La Liga and currently lead second-placed Atletico Madrid by 11 points. But despite that, Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has insisted that the title race is still up for grabs.
With Real Madrid struggling for points and goals, both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid have taken full advantage and Zinedine Zidane’s men currently sit third, and are 15 points behind Barcelona, with hopes of a back-to-back La Liga title slowly disappearing. But Real Madrid still does have eight games to overturn Barcelona’s mammoth lead and that has made an impact on Ernesto Valverde.
The Barcelona manager believes that there is still a title race this late in the season. “Of course there’s a title race,” Valverde told reporters. “While it’s still mathematically possible, you can’t rule anyone out. I won’t rule [Madrid] out and they will do well not to rule themselves out, too.”
“In the second half we began to subconsciously think about the match on Wednesday,” Valverde further added. “Scoring early here was crucial, the red card made the match easier for us. We will have to suffer to progress past Chelsea.”
The Catalan giants face reigning Premier League champions Chelsea for their second leg match on Wednesday, but while the score is tied at 1-1, Barcelona could end up victors thanks to the away goals rule if the second leg ends at 0-0. However, Ernesto Valverde’s men will be without both Andres Iniesta and Denis Suarez, both who have been ruled out which certainly gives Chelsea a chance to beat the only unbeaten side left in Europe’s top five big leagues.
Ernesto Valverde is right, as long it’s mathematically possible for a team to win the league, it’s all up for grabs. But given Barcelona’s current form and Real Madrid’s current form, it will take a miracle for Barcelona to give up a 15 point lead and Real Madrid to overtake a 15 point lead.
But then again both the La Liga giants have arguably the best players in the world playing for them, despite form and fitness issues, so anything could happen.