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Three-way title race firmly in Barca's hands-Suarez

By Agence France Presse In Madrid | China Daily | Updated: 2016-04-23 07:47

Having scored four goals and set up three others as Barcelona roared back into form with an 8-0 thrashing of Deportivo la Coruna in midweek, Luis Suarez has refused to contemplate any other outcome than Barca retaining its La Liga title.

The Catalan giant leads Atletico Madrid thanks to its superior head-to-head record, with Real Madrid just one point back in third with four games to go.

However, having taken just one point from their previous four league matches, Suarez believes Barca is back on course for a 24th La Liga title.

"We needed that victory. We came off the back of many games suffering and, as we are human, the defeats hurt," Suarez said on Wednesday.

"It's in our hands and if we win all our games what the others do doesn't bother us. The normal thing would be that none of us slip up.

"We are the leaders and we are convinced we are going to win it. We aren't contemplating anything other than winning."

Lionel Messi and Neymar were also on target against Deportivo as Barca's star front three responded in style to their critics as fatigue appeared to catch up with the South American trio in the past month after a hugely demanding season as Barca competed in six competitions.

Suarez reserved special praise for Neymar, whose performances and off-field attitude had been the target for particular criticism during Barca's slump.

"It hurts that people put the responsibility on him for the defeats. He is a boy with feelings and he's my friend," said the Uruguayan.

"We all try to support one another. He is showing by his attitude that he won't give up."

Barca will be back to full strength for the visit of a Sporting Gijon squad fighting to avoid relegation on Saturday, with Gerard Pique to return from suspension in central defense.

However, Barca could be third by the time it kicks off, with Real Madrid in action at Rayo Vallecano and Atletico Madrid hosting Malaga earlier on Saturday ahead of their Champions League semifinals in midweek.

Cristiano Ronaldo is a major doubt for Real's trip to Vallecas after limping off in stoppage time of their 3-0 win over Villarreal on Wednesday with a minor hamstring problem.

The three-time World Player of the Year has been an ever-present for Madrid in La Liga this season, but is unlikely to be risked just three days before Real travels to Manchester City for the first leg of their semifinal.

However, with Zinedine Zidane's men in sensational form having won their past eight La Liga games, midfielder Luka Modric believes they have the strength in depth to cope with Ronaldo's absence.

"We are Real Madrid and we have the squad to fight for the two titles," said the Croatian. "We will be prepared to do that."

Three-way title race firmly in Barca's hands-Suarez

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