Zinedine Zidane believes Madrid can still pip Barcelona to the title, despite a 15-point gap.
Barcelona played a 1-1 draw against Las Palmas, failing to capitalise on Madrid losing to Espanyol.
Barcelona will face Atletico who are five points behind, and Zidane is not losing hope of retaining the title.
“What we have to do is win games, that’s all,” Zidane told a pre-match news conference on Friday. “Keep going to the end of the season. That’s what we have to do and that’s what we have to think about.
“It’s not easy to go out and win all the games but it’s what the players have to try and do. If we’re always motivated and thinking about the game, then we can achieve something great.
“There’s always a league – it’s right to the end for every team. Perhaps everyone thinks the league is over but in football you can never give up. That’s what we have to do. We have to get it into our heads that our remaining league games are important.
“We’re going to fight until the end of the league. It’s complicated but it’s not impossible, that’s the difference between what I say and what you [the media] say. It’s difficult, it’s very difficult, but it’s not impossible.
“We went on a run of five wins, that’s football. Last Tuesday against Espanyol, we were angry to lose but we didn’t expect to lose. We made some mistakes. When things go wrong you can’t just think about that, you have to look at the positives. Think about what we were doing before.
“It will be difficult, yes, but it won’t be impossible. Look what’s happening between the first and second teams, only five points different. Did you expect that? If Atletico win then it’s only two points. Did anyone expect that? The league still exists and I’m an optimist, always, until the very end.”