Guardiola guards against Barca complacency

MADRID - The work ethic instilled by Pep Guardiola means there is no chance of Barcelona resting on their 2009 laurels when they resume La Liga action at home to Villarreal on Saturday, defender Dani Alves said.

While Barca were away winning the Club World Cup two weeks ago, and taking their haul of trophies over the course of the year to six, Real Madrid cut their league lead to just two points with a 6-0 demolition of Real Zaragoza.

Real's resurgent form will be a powerful motivating factor as Barcelona return from the winter break on Saturday and if the Catalans need another it will be the memory of what happened last time they played in the Club World Cup.

That was in 2006, when their surprise defeat to Internacional triggered a slump in form under Frank Rijkaard.

Barca's Brazilian full-back Alves is confident the same will not happen under Guardiola.

"With the coach we have there will be no relaxation because he has taught us that we'll only keep winning if we maintain our ambition," Alves told reporters.

"We are going to do all we can to make sure this book has more than one page."

Barcelona will be defending their 100 percent home record without injured midfielders Jeffren and Seydou Keita, and Yaya Toure who is on international duty with Ivory Coast.

Andres Iniesta is still working to recover from an injury while Lionel Messi has been granted extended leave until Saturday.

Villarreal have won three on the trot to climb to ninth after their poor start to the season.

HEAD OF STEAM

Real Madrid will take up the chase again away to Osasuna on Sunday.

Real are gathering up a head of steam and have netted 13 goals in their last three league victories ahead of their trip to the claustrophobic Reyno de Navarra in Pamplona.

"We had a period of adaptation because there were many new faces in the team but now we are starting to get the results," Cristiano Ronaldo told sports daily AS.

"The team is improving all the time and I am sure we'll win a title this year."

Manuel Pellegrini is without long-term injury victim Pepe and Mahamadou Diarra who is on duty with Mali. Guti, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Kaka continue to work apart from the group.

Third-placed Sevilla have lost ground on the leaders after only one win from their last four outings, and face a testing trip to play Atletico Madrid on Saturday. Games between the two sides are often explosive affairs.

Atletico, who are struggling two points above the relegation places, have an injury doubt over top scorer Sergio Aguero. Sevilla are without their injured top scorer Luis Fabiano.

"The truth is we have had an awful first third of the season, horrific," Atletico president Enrique Cerezo told AS.

"We have a lot to do to recover the lost ground."