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Frenkie De Jong insists Barcelona will carry on fighting to defend their LaLiga crown.

The champions are fourth, eight points behind surprise leaders Girona, as they prepare to return to league action at Real Betis on Sunday after four successive cup games.

With Real Madrid seemingly well placed to strike, just a point off the top with a game in hand, Barca now look like rank outsiders in the title race but playmaker De Jong is not giving up.

Real Madrid celebrate against Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup final
Barcelona were well beaten by Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup final (AP)

The Dutchman told the club’s website: “There are three titles still to play for. We’re in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey, we’re still in the Champions League and we’re going to do everything possible to get back into contention in LaLiga.

“That depends on Madrid and Girona and we can’t do anything about that, but I do think we have the squad and if we improve a few things we have a very good chance of winning a lot of the games we have left.

“I think we can still fight for the league. We know we have to improve but the quality is there.

“We’re lacking decisiveness, concentration sometimes. We have to improve that and focus all game. If we do that, we have a very good squad to fight for every title.”

Barcelona suffered a disappointing 4-1 defeat at the hands of arch-rivals Real in the Spanish Super Cup final in Saudi Arabia last weekend.

It was a humbling experience but De Jong does not think too much should be read into it.

“We didn’t play well in that game, but one game doesn’t make a season,” said the 26-year-old, who made his 200th appearance for Barca in the midweek Copa del Rey win at Unionistas Salamanca.

“We lost to Madrid and deservedly so. It was a fair result.

“But losing one game – and we lost it badly – doesn’t mean we’re having a bad season.”

Barca take on a Betis side hoping to build on claiming their first league win since November as they edged out Granada last weekend.

Manager Manuel Pellegrini said: “They did not have a good performance in the Super Cup but they are still in three competitions.

“They are still competing for the top places. They may be a few points lower but there is an enormous amount of time to try to fight back.

“If we believe that we are going to find a Barcelona in crisis, we would be very wrong. We expect a tough opponent.”

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