Carles Puyol has acknowledged that Real Madrid are playing ‘better and better’ heading into the League Clasico against Barcelona.
Saturday evening sees the Catalans host the first meeting of the season between the two rivals, with Barca holding a three point advantage in the table but their captain holding caution.
“There is still much ahead and the League will not be resolved in the Clasico, but it is a good game in which to gain confidence,” Puyol commented to reporters today.
“Madrid are always a team that demands the best from us. They have great players and arrive here with confidence.
“They are playing better and better, we will have to monitor their counter-attacks, which are very fast.
“To win we will have to play a good game. We must play well, build up the confidence for everything that we are facing ahead.
“This is our biggest rival and it has much impact.”
Puyol may make the starting line-up in place of a struggling Gerard Pique, just a week on from making his comeback against Osasuna after seven months on the sidelines following knee surgery.
“I appreciate the confidence the Coach has in me, now I want to return that. If the boss needs me for Barca-Madrid, I feel very well.
“I am only training with my teammates and here I feel very good. I hope to play in Barca-Madrid, it is a game that we all want to play in.
“ Against Osasuna I found myself as very well. The knee responded very well, better than I though. The last seven months have been difficult for me, but now I am back here.
“Do we need to strengthen in defence? We have four centre-backs and the level is very high. The competition is good. I’ve always had great confidence in Marc Bartra.
“Many of the names that have come out in the Press are not better. Marc is young, he should working, he can be a centre-back for many years to come at Barca.”
“We must respect his statements, but I think that he is too demanding. He has spent three years playing at a high level, there are few defenders who can play like him.
“The video of his successes would be much longer than the one of his mistakes. He is a spectacular player, he plays better in defence than in midfield.”
Puyol was asked for comment on international colleague Iker Casillas’ struggles to get game-time for Real Madrid.
“It is a decision for his Coach, who has two great goalkeepers. For me, Iker is very good and is my friend, but I will not look out for him. Diego is also very good.
“I do not know if he will, but I am sure that he wants to play and that if he cannot at Madrid then he will look for a way out, but I have not spoken to him about the matter.”