The in-form Catalans have drawn to within four points of Los Blancos and can close to within a point should they defeat Getafe at Camp Nou on Tuesday nightBarcelona coach Pep Guardiola has played down his side's title hopes, insisting that catching Real Madrid will now be even more difficult than it was when it was 10 points behind its great rivals.
After seemingly being out of contention, the second-placed Catalans have drawn to within four points of Los Blancos, who have drawn three of their last five games in La Liga.
However, Guardiola insists that the Blaugrana's task has not actually become any easier in recent weeks.
"They can drop points, but we cannot,” the former Spain international told reporters at a press conference on Monday. “It's a lot more difficult now than when we were behind by 10 points. It appears as though we already have the title, but four points is a lot against this Madrid. There's a lot of work to do.
“No team in the history of the league have fought back to overturn a 10-point lead against Madrid.”
Guardiola also addressed the apparent assumption that Barcelona are definitely going to defeat Madrid when the two sides meet at Camp Nou later this month.
“The three points against Madrid are by no means won," he pointed out. "Madrid are coming and we're aware that we can lose the three points."
Barca, though, can reduce its arrears to just a solitary mark if it defeats Getafe at Camp Nou on Tuesday, with Madrid set to take on Atletico Madrid the following evening.
However, Guardiola has revealed that the reigning champions are unlikely to be at full strength for the visit of Luis Garcia's troops.
“Gerard Pique and Dani Alves are both doubtful for tomorrow's match,” the 41-year-old revealed. “At this moment they are not match fit."
Guardiola has let Barca to 13 titles since taking charge of the club in the summer of 2008.
Between November and February, Goal.com published 10 exclusive extracts from Graham Hunter's highly anticipated new book, 'Barca: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World'. Click here to read all 10 extracts. Don't miss it!
Follow GOAL.COM USA on