Guardiola expects long title battle
Pep Guardiola will be "satisfied" if Barcelona can win their next two games to finish the first half of the season top of the Primera Liga, but has warned his players they face a long fight against Real Madrid for the title.
Barça are two points clear at the top of the standings after 17 games, and face Deportivo La Coruna and Malaga next. Real, in second, face third-placed Villarreal and then Almeria before reaching the midway point of the campaign.
"If we win the remaining games to finish the first half of the season we can be satisfied with our year," Guardiola said. "But to be champions ahead of Real Madrid we will need to take many more points.
"They have a very good team, and have everything they need to not drop points. It is to our great merit that we can compete with a team as good as they are." However, Guardiola is clearly hoping Villarreal can do him a favour on Sunday, praising them as "a marvellous team and one of the best in Europe".