Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde was asked about claims in the Madrid press that his side are 'scared' following Real Madrid's appearance in second place in the table.
Los Blancos have cut the gap from 10 points to six in the last two weeks and have leapfrogged Atletico in the table in the process.
In that time, Barça's lead at the top has actually stretched from five to six points, but the significance of Madrid as their nearest rivals has been played up in the capital.
Valverde was asked if his team were scared: "Scared why? We We always have the same rivals, Real Madrid, Atletico, Valencia... But we are not scared at all that they're getting closer to us because we are top."
Barça host Real Valladolid on Saturday before a run of four tough away games: Lyon (Champions League), Sevilla (La Liga), Real Madrid (Copa del Rey) and Real Madrid again (La Liga).
The Barça coach insists a good result against Valladolid is just as important as what's on the horizon.
"There are games in this run coming up which are decisive, like the Copa del Rey game against Real Madrid," he added.
"We also have to see how we do in the Champions League game [at Lyon]. We have to tread very carefully, and I include tomorrow's game in that. It's fundamental that we get three points."