‘We are not giving up just yet’: Atletico Madrid still hold out hope of catching Barcelona

Atletico’s attack have scored only two goals in the last four games. Meanwhile, Real have given up on the league title after losing to Atletico and dropping 12 points behind Barcelona with 12 games to play.

From left to right: Diego Godin, Matias Kranevitter, Jose Maria Gimenez, Fernando Torres and Gabi Fernandez of Atletico Madrid celebrate after they beat Real Madrid 1-0 in their La Liga match at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on February 27, 2016 in Madrid, Spain. Denis Doyle/Getty Images
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MADRID // Atletico Madrid host Real Sociedad on Tuesday looking to keep pressure on Barcelona atop the standings.

Atletico can cut Barcelona's lead to five points with another win following Saturday's impressive 1-0 victory over Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.

“We have to keep fighting game after game,” Atletico midfielder Saul Niguez said. “Then at the end we will see whether we still have any chance. We are not giving up just yet.”

Atletico’s defence have not conceded a goal in four straight matches, including a scoreless draw at PSV Eindoven in the Uefa Champions League.

Although, Atletico’s attack have scored only two goals in the last four games.

“We have to keep working to improve in that area,” coach Diego Simeone said.

Real have already given up on the league title after losing at home to Atletico and dropping 12 points behind leaders Barcelona with 12 games to play.

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Players and coach Zinedine Zidane concede that the focus now will be on winning the Champions League, with the club on the verge of a spot in the quarter-finals after a 2-0 win at Roma in their last-16 first-leg match.

However, Madrid are in danger of losing third place in the league, which would secure an automatic spot in next year’s Champions League. They are only two points ahead of Villarreal going into their game at last-place Levante tomorrow.

“Before the Champions League we have a game on Wednesday and we have to prepare for that game in order to play at our top level and win,” Zidane said. “Our duties and aims are for that.”

Villarreal’s impressive unbeaten run in the Spanish league has reached 13 games.

“To finish third, we would need to maintain this extraordinary level and hope that Atletico and Real play below expectations,” coach Marcelino Garcia said. “Each step we take is to secure fourth place.”

Villarreal have an 11-point lead over fifth-place Celta Vigo, their opponents tomorrow.

The title fight is virtually over but there is still plenty of action near the bottom of the table.

Five teams are within four points of the relegation zone, and several match-ups between the clubs take place this week.

Second-to-last-place Granada host 18th-place Sporting Gijon on Thursday, 15th-place Getafe play at 17th-place Las Palmas tonight, and 13th-place Real Betis face 14th-place Espanyol in Barcelona on Thursday.

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