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Valverde stays calm as Barcelona move 11 points clear after Atletico slip up

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Barcelona v Athletic Club - La Liga Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

It’s been a pretty brilliant week for Barcelona, into the quarter-finals of the Champions League, drawn against Roma and now an 11 point lead at the top of La Liga.

Barcelona did their bit with a 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao and it was then over to Atletico Madrid who were at Villarreal.

Diego Simeone’s side looked to be heading for all three points after Antoine Griezmann scored from the penalty spot but then it all went wrong late on.

Griezmann was substituted, Enes Unal scored twice, Vitolo was sent off and suddenly Atletico had lost 2-1 and the gap at the top was 11 points with just 27 left to play for.

The results mean that Barca need five wins and a draw to be mathematically sure of winning the title, if Atletico slip up again they might not even need that. There’s also the enticing prospect of Barca being able to win La Liga on the day Real Madrid head to Camp Nou.

Not that Valverde was getting carried away, he played down just about everything after the game

“I would love to finish the season unbeaten [in the league],” he said.

”But we could lose our next game [away at Sevilla]. We have to wait and see what happens. The next game always difficult. We know that if we can keep going in the same manner, we will be even closer to our objectives.”

Source | ESPN

Valverde must now hope and pray that his players all come back from international duty unscathed. The team are already without Nelson Semedo, Denis Suarez and Sergio Busquets due to injury but hopefully all three will be back shortly.

The team remain unbeaten in the league but face a really tough April when the players return from international duty. First up is a trip to Sevilla, before the two games against Roma and a vist from Leganes sandwiched in between.

Barcelona then face Valencia and Celta Vigo before the Copa del Rey final (and potentially then a Champions League semi-final first leg on 24/25 April) before a trip to Deportivo.

If Barcelona do knock out Roma they’ll play eight games in April which is a demanding schedule and although they have a healthy lead, there’s still plenty of work to do.