Alvaro Arbeloa defends Karim Benzema and believes that Real Madrid head into the Clasico on Saturday in positive spirits for recent form.
Madrid followed up the weekend’s dominant display over Malaga with a 2-1 win in the Champions League on Wednesday against Juventus.
For the side’s experienced right-back, the team’s mood and form is clicking just in time for Saturday’s trip out to the Camp Nou.
“The match against Barcelona comes at a good time for us. We are improving and gaining confidence, so we’ll see if we can win,” Arbeloa has considered this week.
“We know it will be a very difficult match. I’m sure that Barcelona will be at their best because they always play well against us.
“We can’t look at their recent draws are a guide. They have a three-point lead, but in recent matches in the Camp Nou we’ve got good results and put in some great performances.”
Arbeloa was talking after Madrid’s win against Juve, which saw Karim Benzema miss an open goal in the second half and Gareth Bale play out a quiet 25-minute cameo from the bench.
“We still have to improve and we have Xabi Alonso to come back into the team. The team is getting better.
“Karim is important to us and that is why he has to keep working as he is. The season is long and I’m sure Bale will help us a lot.
“Benzema’s chance? It was a very difficult chance. He went in very strong and nearly scored. He is a great player that helps us a lot. Benzema will show people what he's worth and the fans will cheer for him.”
The 30-year-old reflected on the team’s result last night too.
“We came up against a very strong team, one of the strongest in Europe, and we're pleased that we are closer to qualifying. We are nearly there with these three points.
“We did not take risks when we had the extra player because we have an important match on Saturday. You have to play cleverly in these matches and that is what we did for much of it.
“Juventus play in a very different way, with players like Tevez and Marchisio coming inside from wide and even when they were down to ten it was very difficult.”