| 3.7°C Dublin

Madrid bid to turn up heat on Barca

JOSE MOURINHO will attempt to turn up the pressure on Barcelona tonight with a win over Levante that would put Real Madrid just two points behind the leaders and extend the manager's unbeaten home league run to nine years.

After Arsenal gave Barcelona a Champions League headache in mid-week, there are signs that Pep Guardiola's slim squad is struggling to cope with competitions on all three fronts.

Not since succumbing 3-2 to Beira Mar in February 2002, when he was manager of Porto, has Mourinho lost a home league game, winning 122 of 147 matches played and only conceding 87 goals.

Levante took a point from Real earlier in the season and are on a run of three straight wins but Madrid have won all 11 of their home league games so far this season.

Manchester City loanee Emmanuel Adebayor could be rested along with Alvaro Arbeloa as Mourinho leaves out players he wants in his starting line-up next Tuesday against Lyon in the Champions League.

The manager confirmed that Real have already agreed a price for the Togo striker should they decide to buy him at season's end.

Barcelona will make a late decision on Carles Puyol for their game against Athletic Bilbao tomorrow.

He had been scheduled to return to the starting line-up, but Gerard Pique's yellow card against Arsenal has ruled him out of the Champions League second leg, and Puyol may now be given longer to recover to ensure his fitness for the return leg at the Nou Camp on March 8. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent