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Barcelona have to put down a marker against Mallorca

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The champions can’t afford any more slip ups

Barcelona V Real Sociedad Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

Here we go!

It’s like being a kid at Christmas. The excitement is real.

The return of La Liga has taken an age to arrive but we’ll all get our fill over the next month, and the way in which the matches have been spaced out, the lack of atmosphere and the rule changes could all conspire to spring a few surprises.

Barca can’t allow themselves to fall foul, because any more mistakes this season on the pitch and it’s likely to be game over.

ESP: FC Barcelona - Real Sociedad - La Liga Photo by Pressinphoto/Icon Sport via Getty Images

Real Madrid are far from the best team in the league, but when the Catalans were playing like they had for the most part pre-lockdown, Los Blancos didn’t need to be.

The fact remains that we sit atop the league and with our destiny domestically and in Europe in our own hands.

Will we end the season on a high, perhaps even the highest of highs? It’s entirely possible. Though not if we’re below our best at any point in the next few weeks.

Mallorca, despite their lowly league position - 18th with 25 points at the time of writing - will present a threat.

It’s true that San Moix would’ve been much more intimidating with a full to capacity stadium, although we’ve travelled well when playing there in the recent past.

FC Barcelona v Club Atletico de Madrid - Supercopa de Espana: Semi Final Photo by Ricardo Nogueira/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

Quique Setien must know that putting down a marker in the first game back, with a truly dominant performance against a team that will be scrapping for everything and fighting for their lives, is a pre-requisite.

No excuses, no more performances like that which we saw against Ibiza in the earlier rounds of the Copa del Rey.

We’ve waited an age to see what ‘Setien’s Barca’ were made of, and after, we are told, some epic recent training sessions, the players are champing at the bit to get back.

With virtually a full complement of playing staff to draw from now, including Luis Suarez, there really is no more room for excuses.

Forget pay cuts, forget Bartomeu, forget Neymar, forget Lautaro and just forget about anything else that is likely to take the focus away from what is important from now until mid-July: winning football matches.

After the worst start to a season in 25 years, and almost certainly the worst off of the pitch, we can still make this a memorable campaign.

The final sprint begins again on Saturday. Let’s see if we’ve got what it takes...