Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde claims his side still have a long way to go if they are to get their hands on the Premier Division title come the end of the season following their goalless draw with Getafe on Sunday afternoon.
Aside from a short spell in the second-half, the Blaugrana found it difficult to break down the mid-table visitors on what was a disappointing afternoon for the hosts in front of a bumper crowd at the Camp Nou.
Today's crowd, 75,681 at Camp Nou.Thanks!! pic.twitter.com/qSJrEx58DF— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) February 11, 2018
Following their strenuous schedule since the winter break, the Spaniard saw fit to field a rather experimental side, and their lack of game time together shone through, with passes going astray and a lack of any serious and consistent attacking threat evident throughout.
It is the second time in as many La Liga clashes that Barcelona have been pegged back by a 'lesser' side, and Valverde insisted, despite still holding a seven-point lead over Atletico Madrid at the top of the table, that the championship race is far from over.
"It's a result which shows everyone that there's still a long way to go in the league", the 54-year-old told his post-match press conference, as quoted by ESPN.
"We're still going to have to sweat and push hard to win it."
The lacklustre showing of injury returnee Ousmane Dembele optimised Barca's showing on Sunday afternoon, with the Frenchman truly struggling to make an impact on the game after being introduced alongside Andres Iniesta shortly after the hour mark.
However, despite laying on what Valverde claimed was an unlucky showing, his coach was still pleased with the 20-year-old's drive to challenge the opposition.
Back-to-back league draws for Barcelona who see their lead at the top of La Liga cut to seven points by Atletico Madrid. Getafe brilliantly organised today.— Samuel Marsden (@samuelmarsden) February 11, 2018
"Maybe you could tell that he's not played a lot of football recently, though, because it didn't go quite as well as he would have liked against a strong opponent.
But despite the contest being very much a damp squib, Valverde found positives in his patched-together central defence, which housed full debutant Yerry Mina and natural left-back Lucas Digne.
300 games for FC Barcelona. Most underrated midfielder of all time. pic.twitter.com/Sli5ZJx9HE— FC Barcelona (@BarcaUniversal) February 11, 2018
"The positive news was the performance of the two centre-backs, Yerry and Lucas, who both did well", he added.
"Lucas was out of position and it was Yerry's first start, so it wasn't the usual defence but we got through the game without too many scares.
At least Yerry Mina actually gives us one threat from free-kicks/corners.— TalkFCB (@FCBNewsRoom) February 11, 2018
"At the beginning, they had to adapt quickly because Getafe were pressing high. [Mina and Digne] got better as the game went on and we were able to play out from the back as usual. We are happy with them because it was a difficult role."
Barcelona can now enjoy a rare midweek away from competitive football and prepare for their tricky trip to Eibar next weekend before travelling to Chelsea in the Champions League later this month.