MADRID - Brief news from La Liga ahead of Sunday's 37th and penultimate matchday.
Atletico Madrid must focus on securing a place in next season's Europa League and forget about an apparent breakdown in the relationship between out-of-favour striker Diego Forlan and coach Quique Sanchez Flores, according to defender Luis Perea.
"The most important thing for me is that the team qualifies for Europe," Perea said at a news conference ahead of Atletico's match at home to relegated Hercules on Sunday.
"The team comes above everything and we have to think about the fact that we have a very important match in two days," he added. "What is said in the dressing room should stay in the dressing room, there is nothing more to add."
Fifth-placed Athletic Bilbao (54 points), Sevilla (52) in sixth and Atletico (52) in seventh are well placed to secure the three Europa League berths, while Espanyol (49) are making a late bid for a qualification spot.
Bilbao host resurgent Malaga, who are almost safe from relegation, while Sevilla are at home to Real Sociedad and Espanyol play at struggling Real Zaragoza.
Barcelona (92) were crowned champions for a third straight season on Wednesday and Real Madrid (86) are sure of second.
A win for Valencia (67) at home to local rivals Levante will be enough to secure the third automatic Champions League qualification spot but they can still be caught by fourth-placed Villarreal (62) if they slip up.
At the other end of the table, Getafe (40) and Zaragoza (39) are in the greatest danger of becoming the third and last club to follow Almeria (27) and Hercules (34) down to the second division, although seven other clubs are not yet safe.
Getafe host fellow strugglers Osasuna (44) and coach Michel said he hoped the Pamplona-based club would be lacking their usual intensity given they had almost made sure of maintaining their top-flight status.
"They (Osasuna) always find strength where they don't have it in difficult moments," Michel told a news conference on Friday. "I hope now that they come here more relaxed because they deserve it."comments