Barcelona legend Carles Puyol has warned the Catalan giants that the fear of falling nine points behind Real Madrid shouldn’t get the better of them in their crunch clash against Los Blancos. Luis Enrique's side have not been at their best this season and are currently second in the La Liga table, six points behind their bitter rivals.
Puyol admitted that Barcelona are more in need of the victory, but he wants the reigning La Liga champions to focus on the game with confidence.
“I wouldn't approach this as Barcelona losing and going to nine points behind,” Puyol said. “It's a very important Clasico for the club which comes with a higher requirement to win than their opponent. Barcelona arrive at the game in more need. To be nine points behind would not be definitive but there would be very little margin for error and thing would be complicated. A lot can happen from nine points behind, but there's little margin for error. It will be difficult, but I hope Barcelona win.”
Puyol also warned the Blaugrana that Cristiano Ronaldo is not the only threat in the Real Madrid side. “They can't be too attentive to Cristiano Ronaldo because their attackers are all good,” quipped the former Barcelona skipper. “The most important thing is that Barcelona has the ball so that Madrid will be less dangerous. We have more options and with our players, it would be foolish not to use them. The idea is to keep the ball but it can be difficult against five defenders.”
Puyol, who served as captain of the Catalan giants for over a decade, made 593 appearances for the club. He is regarded as one of the greatest defenders in the modern game and is admired for his leadership qualities. The Spaniard featured for Barcelona in 29 El Clasicos during his career and he recalled his memories from those fiercely fought contests.
“It's always a special game and everybody's nervous," opined the former Spanish international. "It's the one everyone waits for and 10 days before, the build-up begins. I remember the 0-3, 2-6, and 5-0. The best was winning 6-2 in Madrid as it was during a difficult period for us and they were doing very well. There were only a few weeks left of the season, they were cutting into our advantage and if they had won, the rest of the league would have been more difficult because of the dynamic.”
Puyol will be hoping that Gerard Pique and co. can take the sting out of the Real attack and the hosts would secure all three points at the Camp Nou, but that would certainly take a monumental effort as Zidane’s men are in fine form and they haven’t tasted defeat so far this season.
Real would be happy with a point but as for Barcelona, nothing short of three points would serve their purpose and a defeat might as well draw curtains over their hopes of retaining the La Liga crown.