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.”
Alvaro Arbeloa meanwhile, has insisted that the game at Camp Nou on Saturday comes at just the right time for his men.
“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.”
Kick off: October 26, 2013 (17.00 UK) – Camp Nou