Barca still believe in Clasico chances
Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta has insisted they can turn around their poor away form and put themselves right back in the La Liga title race by beating leaders Real Madrid on Sunday.
The Catalans lie in third, four points adrift of Real, having won just one of their last five away games in La Liga.
However, Iniesta believes the Spanish champions showed in their two recent games against Manchester City in the Champions League they are still capable of beating anyone on their day.
“We have had bad days, like everyone, but no one can think that Madrid will beat us easily,” he told a press conference on Thursday.
“It is difficult to think that there are Barca fans that don’t believe in us.
“This team has won the right to believe in it no matter what the situation is.”
Barca boss Gerardo Martino looks set to name the side that started the home leg against City for just the second time all season.
That means Neymar and Cesc Fabregas will return after being rested for last weekend’s 7-0 win over Osasuna, with Pedro Rodriguez and Alexis Sanchez, who struck the winner the last time Barca met Real in October, dropping to the bench.
And Iniesta is urging his teammates to impose themselves on the game rather than being cowed by the atmosphere at the Bernabeu.
“We need to be Barca, to be brave. If we are not then it won’t go well for us.”
Madrid haven’t been beaten in 31 games in all competitions since the two sides met at the Camp Nou.
That run has allowed Carlo Ancelotti’s men to overtake Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, whilst also progressing to the Copa del Rey final and the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Real suffered a blow midweek as 21-year-old forward Jese Rodriguez was ruled out for the rest of the season with cruciate ligament damage in his right knee.
That won’t affect Ancelotti’s starting line-up, though, as the likes of Luka Modric, Angel di Maria, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema will return to the side after being rested from the start in the 3-1 win over Schalke on Wednesday.