Mauricio Pellegrino’s Leganes face Atletico Madrid on Saturday afternoon and he has accepted that Diego Simeone’s side are at a different level.
Sitting second place in the La Liga standings and seven points off Barca, Atleti are now the only realistic team that can catch the Catalan side, especially following Real Madrid’s defeat in El Clasico last weekend.
Pressure can now be applied by Diego Simeone’s side who play just before Barca on Saturday and they could temporarily reduce the gap to four points.
Leganes arrive in superb form though and will provide a stern test, having won three of their last five games, including last week’s impressive 1-0 win over Levante.
The majority of those victories however have come at the Butarque, where they continue to be a tough customer.
Atleti have won their last three games, keeping three clean sheets but they will also have one eye on the Champions League clash with Juventus next week.
“Atletico Madrid is one of the most regular in recent years and Simeone’s work is fantastic, I do not have to say it today, Atletico is at a different level than we are today. I appreciate Simeone’s comment,” Pellegrino said to reporters.
“Our challenge is to try to get a hand on one of the best teams in Europe knowing of the Difficulty and the changes we have made, I have an illusion that we can go to compete and make it difficult, that’s my dream.”
Leganes head across Madrid without four key players this weekend, all sidelined due to suspension. Andriy Lunin should come into the team in goal, while Diego Reyes is expected to slot into the back three.
Vasyl Kravets should start at left wing-back once again in Jonathan Silva’s injury absence, while Nabil El Zhar is expected to support the attack. Youssef En-Nesyri missed out on Monday but Leganes will hope to have him available here.