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The Catalans were held to a goalless draw at the Vicente Calderon against Atletico Madrid and the 33-year-old believes La Liga is now a three-horse race

Xavi believes Barcelona were not creative enough in their 0-0 draw with Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

With Lionel Messi and Neymar starting on the bench, the Catalans struggled to break down a resilient Atletico side who also caused the visitors problems of their own through Diego Costa and Arda Turan.

And though Xavi, 33, insists Gerardo Martino's men were in the ascendancy for the most of the encounter he believes their play was not incisive enough to trouble the hosts.

"Atletico are a very compact team and they work hard physically. We dominated the game, but we didn't create enough chances," he was quoted as saying by AS.

"It was a very intense game. The last 15 or 20 minutes, we were very good but we couldn't score. Atletico are a great team.

"They play a very different style to us, but they do it excellently. They give you very little space in defence.”

The result leaves Barca first on goal difference to Atletico Madrid, giving city rivals Real the opportunity to narrow the gap at the top to three points if they beat Espanyol on Sunday.

And Xavi says the title race is now wide open.

"Atletico are very strong and Madrid are always there. The three will be fighting it out until the end," he continued.

Messi came on in the second half but was unable to find that elusive goal at the Vicente Calderon.

The Ballon d'Or nominee has recently returned from a hamstring injury that kept him out for two months and Xavi says the Argentine and Neymar, who had gastroenteritis, will be given time to recover.

He added: "They are very important players for the team and they will be eased in slowly."

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