With only three league games left, the Spanish Cup final and, with a solid showing at the Allianz Arena next Tuesday, a Champions League final in Berlin, FC Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique believes the team are as motivated as ever as they sense the proximity of reaching their objectives. Luis Enrique, on his 45th birthday, says that the focus is on Real Sociedad. "We know what the difficulties are to win on Saturday and that a victory will bring us closer to the league title."
The dramatic 3-0 victory at home over Bayern Munich in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final is still fresh in the memory yet the blaugranes cannot afford to rest on their laurels with their attention turning back to the league on Saturday with the visit of Real Sociedad to Camp Nou. Barça are just two points ahead of Real Madrid in the table with just three games remaining in the 2014/15 league campaign. Against the Basques victory is essential for Luis Enrique’s side to continue to have their fate in their own hands.
"It is not easy, but if we do not believe, we can all stay at home," the defender is quoted as saying by L'Equipe. "We also have great players and the ability to play better. If we get our shots away quicker, we will score. We can win 4-0. But we need the perfect game and to go in there and get ahead early. We have shown that we can score goals at home, even though we have not played against Barca yet."
Moyes joined Real Sociedad in November, eventually convinced by the persistence of the president, Jokin Aperribay. The decision was not easy for a man seeking to rebuild a reputation constructed over a decade at Everton and damaged in a matter of months at Manchester United: la Real were in the relegation zone, having won once in 10 games. But Moyes watched them beat Atlético Madrid, taking over the next day. On Saturday night they visit the Camp Nou, the risk long averted.
Jérémy Mathieu trained separately from the rest of his teammates on Friday and will miss out on the game against Real Sociedad. The French defender was already absent for the first leg of the Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich due to a problem with his right Achilles, and he does not appear to have put the niggle behind him.
However, employment law would lead to all-out chaos and confusion. The law dictates that games missed through strike action cannot be re-scheduled. That would mean this weekend's games would be the last of the season and the league table would stay as it is, without gameweeks 37 and 38. That would mean no Atlético vs. Barça, no Espanyol vs. Real Madrid, and a historic clash of opposing interests: Those teams currently safe from relegation could use the Spanish Constitution and the right to strike to never play their outstanding fixtures. That would mean all-out war between the league champions, those qualified for the Champions League and the Europa League, and every other team in the table. A mess of epic proportions.