Adding to the Spanish league title, Copa del Rey, Champions League and Uefa Super Cup they had already won over the calendar year, Luis Enrique’s men lifted further silverware on December 20 in the form of the Club World Cup. As they prepare for their first match since then, the picture in the Primera Division sees them top on goal difference, with a game in hand over second-placed Atletico Madrid.
Prior to taking part in the Club World Cup tournament in Japan, Barca were held to back-to-back draws by Valencia and then Deportivo La Coruna.
Enrique is eager for the Catalans to get a victory on the board against 11th-placed Betis.
“In recent games we’ve dropped points: Against Valencia, we were superior and let it slip and against Deportivo we took our foot off the gas.
“We know it will be a key game, as they all are, and we need to get the win.”
Assessing Barcelona’s achievements, he said: “I prefer to do it at the end of the season. We’re at the halfway point in the season. I’m delighted with what we’ve achieved at Barca but that’s now in the past.”
Atletico travel this afternoon (3pm) to third-from-bottom Rayo Vallecano, who were thrashed 10-2 at Real Madrid last time out. Third-placed Real Madrid — who have lost three of their last six league games and are two points adrift of the top two — are playing at home against Real Sociedad (3pm), with pressure apparently mounting on Los Blancos boss Rafael Benitez.