Dead men walking? Battered Barcelona's season could be over by the Clasico

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Luis Enrique's side need to win at home to Real Sociedad to stay in the race for La Liga, before attempting a comeback against Juventus on Wednesday


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The magic of the comeback lasted for a month. The historic turnaround that was Barcelona's brilliant 6-1 win over Paris-Saint-Germain lifted the Catalan club and got the side's season back on track. But after back-to-back defeats, the Blaugrana have hit another crisis point.

Barca fans are annoyed after Juve defeat, admits Luis Enrique

The 3-0 loss to Juventus on Tuesday night left Luis Enrique's side needing another epic recovery and after the game in Turin, the Asturian admitted: "I am less optimistic this time."

On Friday he had changed his tune somewhat and said: "We are not going to give in." But, surprisingly and despite taking responsibility for the loss, he also added: "I did not get anything at all wrong tactically in Turin."

Many fans will disagree with that assessment and also with the coach's team selection in Italy. And as he hinted on Tuesday, the comeback will be more difficult this time because Juventus are one of Europe's best teams - and they also boast one of the game's meanest defences.

Neymar Malaga Barcelona La Liga

In any case, La Liga comes first and Luis Enrique cannot neglect the Primera Division as his side seek to stay on the heels of fierce rivals Real Madrid a week before the Clasico clash at the Santiago Bernabeu next Sunday.

Barca team news for Real Sociedad clash

Barca are at home to sixth-placed Real Sociedad on Saturday and against a team looking to qualify for Europe via the league, Luis Enrique surely will not want to field too much of a weakened XI for the Camp Nou clash.

With their Champions League hopes very much in the balance, it is imperative that the Catalans stay in touch in the Primera Division. Because they are already three points behind Madrid - and that with a game in hand for Los Blancos too.

"Losing in the Champions League hurts us," Luis Enrique said on Friday. "But we are in the process of improving things, of changing them. We need the points [on Saturday] to boost our morale and also to be able to keep fighting for La Liga."

Paulo Dybala Juventus Barcellona Champions League

Lionel Messi Barcelona Paulo Dybala Juventus

Neymar misses out through suspension, while Javier Mascherano is sidelined along with Rafinha and long-term absentee Aleix Vidal, so Luis Enrique will not be able to rest too many of his players on Saturday either.

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Some reports this week claimed that the atmosphere on the flight back from Turin was "like a funeral" and Barcelona's season could be all over bar the Copa del Rey (in which the Blaugrana meet Alaves in the final next month) before the Clasico clash in Madrid next Sunday.

Failure to beat Real Sociedad and a European exit against Juventus would see the Catalans' chances of winning one of the two biggest trophies evaporate in what would be a sad finale to Luis Enrique's three-year spell as coach.

So although morale is low right now, the Barca boss must lift his players for another big push over the next few days. And if they can boost confidence by beating Real Sociedad convincingly on Saturday, perhaps they will start to believe once again ahead of the two huge matches on Wednesday and Sunday.

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