MADRID - Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola insisted yesterday that he will not press the panic button despite the Spanish giants suffering back-to-back league defeats.

Less than a month ago, Barcelona was coasting to the La Liga title with a healthy 12-point lead over bitter rivals Real Madrid, thanks to a run of 22 championship games without defeat. But on Sunday, they twice surrendered the lead to lose 4-3 to Atletico Madrid, a heartbreaking setback coming on the back of a defeat against relegation-haunted Espanyol.

"We have had a big advantage and Real Madrid have cut it back by eight points in three weeks. But we will continue forward," said Guardiola whose team's lead is now just four points. "We lost a game which was up and down, very exciting and I have to give credit to Atletico but we will now continue as before. Atletico play a very direct style of football and it caused problems. It was a game with plenty of chances, typical of an Atletico versus Barcelona game."