Time is ticking towards the first El Clásico of the season. Real Madrid will face Barcelona at home this Saturday and here on Managing Madrid you can find full coverage of the big match. Seriously, if Mourinho as much as sneezes, we'll tell you about it (please, don't take that literally).
But as much as we would love to hear about Mourinho's undisclosed plans, it's time to take a quick step behind enemy lines and see what some Barcelona players and the coach are saying about the game. While of course everyone is stressing the importance of the
meaningless Champions League fixtures, it is obvious that El Clásico remains very much on their minds.
Former Arsenal skipper Cesc Fabregas (who has unfortunately been in good form as of late) spoke to Barca TV and talked about his team's form and mentality going into the match:
"The team is in good shape and will go to the Santiago Bernabeu looking for a win, and whatever happens, there'll be no lack of bravery and courage to play our own style. If we go there with nerves or thinking we'll sit back and see what happens, we could be punished as the Bernabeu is a very dangerous place to play. Obviously [Real Madrid will] go all out for a win, and the home fans will make their presence felt. We know that if Real Madrid win, it could have a serious impact on the league. We'll go there to win. We're not afraid."
Barcelona star and FIFA World Player of the Year Lionel Messi also spoke in an interview with FIFA.com:
"It's going to be a fantastic match. Obviously it's vital we get a good result because it'll set us up for the rest of the season."
Barcelona's coach Pep Guardiola also gave some input on facing Madrid after his side's 5-0 thumping of Levante:
"The fact that we did well tonight doesn't mean we'll do well tomorrow, because Madrid play differently. The challenge is to have the other team submit and to have more comfortable possession of the ball so we can attack. But against Madrid, getting them to submit for long spells of time is practically impossible."
While we're flattered that you hold Madrid in such high esteem, Mr.Guardiola, I do wish you had decided to underestimate los blancos and not decide against using a three-man defense.
You can see the Catalans in action tonight against Bate Borisov in the Champions League.For more clásico coverage don't forget to check out our brilliant hub site, SBNation Soccer.