MADRID - Brief news from the Primera Liga ahead of this weekend's matches: Real Madrid have closed to within four points of leaders Barcelona ahead of Saturday's clash at the Bernabeu, but Barca defender Gerard Pique dismissed media reports from the capital that the Catalans were feeling the pressure. "Here in Barcelona we don't know what all this stuff about being scared stiff is about. It motivates us more, every time we hear it," Pique told sports daily Marca. Pique and Carles Puyol are likely to pair up in the centre of defence with Rafael Marquez ruled out after a knee injury. Striker Thierry Henry is a doubt with a neck complaint from the Champions League game with Chelsea in midweek. Spanish champions Real have been boosted by the return to training of Arjen Robben after recovering from a calf strain and the Dutch winger could play a part on Saturday. Gabriel Heinze is back after injury and will join Christoph Metzelder, in for the the suspended Pepe, in defence. With Guti and Wesley Sneijder injured, Robben will compete with Rafael van der Vaart and Marcelo for a place in midfield. Four consecutive defeats have put third-placed Sevilla's participation in next season's Champions League under threat. On Saturday they travel to face Villarreal who are two points behind in fifth. "If I were a fan I would be angry as well. We recognise we haven't done well in the last four games and have to improve but people should remember we have been third all this year, not fighting off relegation," under-fire Sevilla coach Manolo Jimenez said. Fourth-placed Valencia are unbeaten in seven and visit another form team, Espanyol, on Sunday. The Barcelona-based side have climbed off the foot of the table to 16th with four wins from their last five outings. Atletico Madrid, sixth, are still smarting from the barracking received from their fans despite beating Sporting Gijon 3-1 at home last weekend. They visit Real Betis on Sunday. Getafe's new coach Michel has five matches left to save the team from relegation starting with a trip to face Real Mallorca on Sunday. Getafe are one point above the bottom three after three defeats on the trot. "I am here to raise the team's morale and to get rid of the anxiety. It's in their hands and for that I need them all fully committed," Michel said at his presentation, after replacing Victor Munoz.
1 May 2009
Get FourFourTwo interviews, features and fun in your inbox every week. For free!
Thank you for registering for our Newsletter
We will send regular updates on the ongoing FourFourTwo updates to the email address you have supplied.