Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano has pointed to the influence of Javier Aguirre on Espanyol’s improvement.
Los Pericos go into Sunday’s derby at Camp Nou as big underdogs but not quite as unfancied as they would have been before Aguirre’s appointment. The Mexican has overseen a four game unbeaten run and taken a point from Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.
“On Sunday it will be a difficult game,” the former Liverpool man told Barca TV. “They are a very difficult opponent. Aguirre has changed the dynamics of Espanyol, the picture is very different to what it was with the previous Coach [Mauricio Pochettino].”
Coach Tito Vilanova was not present at this morning’s training but Mascherano is pleased to see him recovering well.
“For us, after how we felt before the match against Real Valladolid, it is very important to be close again to Tito. It is great news for our group.”
The training session took place at Barcelona B’s Mini Estadi as a seasonal gift to the club’s fans. With over 13,000 in attendance, many of them children, the players participated in drills including the ‘Rondo’ – the piggy in the middle exercise devised by Johan Cruyff.
“We only do this once a year and the fans enjoy it,” added Mascherano. “We are happy for them.”