Barcelona boss Tito Vilanova said the 2-0 Champions League win over Benfica came at a price with the injury to Carles Puyol.
The Spanish international landed awkwardly in the 75th minute and suffered a dislocated elbow that ensures he will miss this weekend’s El Clasico, with Vilanova left to lament his absence.
“He has now had two out-of-the-ordinary injuries to his cheekbone and elbow this season and it is a major loss,” he told a post-match Press conference.
“We’ve always had problems with central defenders and tried to sign one in the summer as we were short on numbers.
“That has forced us to convert other players, with [Javier] Mascherano playing there 14 games in a row and unable to rest. I’m hoping [Gerard] Pique will recover for El Clasico but if not then hopefully later.
“In addition, we will have Bartra who will get some playing time.”
Vilanova says all his thoughts are now on the clash with eternal rivals Real Madrid this weekend.
“Now is the time to recover and rest. Madrid will be very difficult. There will be time to prepare for that game and not much will have changed with respect to the last clashes with them.
“I don’t want to say if we are at 70 or 80 per cent as I don’t know how that’s measured, but I think we’ll be ready and we will have improved, although every game is different.
“However, going into El Clasico with an eight-point advantage means nothing,” he concluded.