Real Madrid zip it ahead of Sociedad visit
Leaders Real Madrid will not give the habitual pre-match news conference ahead of the visit of Real Sociedad on Saturday, after the costly loss of composure at Villarreal during the week.
Coach Jose Mourinho and Mesut Ozil are suspended after being sent off, while Pepe has been given a two-match ban for insulting the referee.
Lassana Diarra is also suspended but defender Sergio Ramos has been cleared after his red card was rescinded.
"We share the indignation of the team," Real sports director Miguel Pardeza told sports daily Marca on Friday, when the football federation's competition committee was scheduled to sit and rule on the midweek misdemeanors.
"It seems the referee's performance was out of proportion, and was nothing like the one we saw a few weeks ago with Barcelona in the Reyno de Navarra [when Barca lost 3-2]. We are worried by the different criteria applied."
Real's lead at the top has been chopped from 10 points to six by consecutive draws in the last week. With 10 matches left to play champions Barca can increase the pressure with a win at Real Mallorca, two hours before Real play on Saturday.
Barca will also be forced into changes with defenders Dani Alves suspended, Adriano Correia injured and Eric Abidal, awaiting a liver transplant.
"Six points is still a big gap, even if it is better than ten," coach Pep Guardiola said on Friday. "Winning 10 games will not be easy and Real will quickly return to winning again."
Third-placed Valencia travel to play Getafe on Saturday with the pressure growing on coach Unai Emery following the midweek 2-1 home defeat to basement side Real Zaragoza.
"From Madrid it seems strange that in Valencia they criticise the coach and players when they are in such a good position," Getafe coach Luis Garcia told Las Provincias. "One year when they don't finish third they'll value Emery's work."
Fourth-placed Levante have defied predictions to remain in the European places in La Liga and can strengthen their claim with a win at home to direct rivals Osasuna on Sunday.
"The story changes now because we have achieved our primary objective, to get 44 points, and practically speaking we are safe from relegation," midfielder Francisco Farinos said. "Now we need to push and see how high we can finish."
Atletico Madrid's Brazilian playmaker Diego Ribas has returned to fitness after a month out with a muscle injury and could return at basement side Real Zaragoza on Sunday.
Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente has been past fit in time for the visit of Sporting Gijon on Sunday. The Spanish international has missed their last two games with a hip problem.
Marcelo Bielsa's side, who knocked Manchester United out of the Europa League last week, have lost their last three league games.