Speaking on the Barça TV programme “El Marcador”, Gerard Piqué stressed the importance of winning the game against Athletic Bilbao and said the team is "still just the same as last week."
Photos: Miguel Ruiz (FCB).
Pinto, an example of the group's competitiveness
Jose Manuel Pinto came in at the last minute against Bilbao for the injured Victor Valdes and Piqué
said: "In the first half, the save that Pinto made with his left hand was really good. I think we
were 1-0 up at the time and that would have brought them back into the game. He had a good
game”. The Barça central defender has no doubts about the competitiveness of the squad
coached by Guardiola: "We are a team and everybody plays the same way, whoever plays, the level
stays the same".
"The win is really important because we had to work very hard for it, but in the end the three
points are really what matters," said Barçá defender Gerard Piqué about the win against Bilbao
. In the interview after the match on the program El Marcador' on Barça TV, Pique
explained: "We had been two games without a win and returning to winning ways is always really
"We’re getting you used to it”
As to how they got the win, Piqué joked: "we’re getting you used to it,
because no-one had to suffer much…We've won 2-1, only one goal in it, but they didn’t
cause us to suffer too much, and because we’re not used to this, it seems the team has
suffered a lot and it cost us a lot to win the game."
"We are still the same team"
Following recent results before the win over Bilbao (the draw at
at the Emirates Stadium against Arsenal), Piqué reflected: "Physically we are fine, but
when you come off a winning streak like the one we had with 16 wins in the league and we
don’t win a game, it appears that alarms bells start ringing. " For this reason, the Barça
central defender insisted: "Don’t worry, it can happen [that we draw or lose a game], so now
getting back to winning ways was very important for the team and for the fans, to make it clear
that we are still the same team that we were last week. "
Guardiola’s team comes out on top in even matches
The win against Bilbao was really important for Piqué: "We are a ball playing side,
we keep the game simple, the fans love it, but the club has always had teams which, in an even
game, finds it difficult to win, and many points and many leagues have been lost in these kinds of
matches….. today has shown that this team has changed its mentality in this respect, and we
also know how to win close matches… winning games like this are the ones that win titles."
A week to "take a breather"
With a hundred days to the end of the official competitions, the group is facing
crucial matches in the fight for the titles at stake (Champions, Spanish Cup, and League) and Piqué
is aware of this: "Now comes the home straight when the three competitions will be decided…we
have a week without a game that will allow us a breather before the game in Mallorca, a pretty
tough ground to go to. There are also a number of games coming up before the Arsenal match at the
Camp Nou and we have to win as many points as possible to stay at the top of the league”.
Objective: To extend the lead over Madrid
Questioned about the five-point lead over Madrid in the domestic competition, Piqué
said: "Our philosophy is to focus on ourselves, but it is clear that the results of the other team
involved in the title race also have an influence". That's why the Barça player stressed: "A win in
Mallorca would be a statement of intent, They have to play after us and it’s always hard to
play away from home [Madrid play Deportivo in La Coruña]. We’ll try to win in Mallorca and go
back to our 8 point lead".
Dressing Room calm
There’s always plenty of media pressure on the players, but Piqué
stressed: "Even if you want to put it out of your minds, there’s always something, you hear
things. But we are all very clear, Pep is always reminding us, the team always tries to ignore
these things and I think we're getting pretty good at it….In the dressing room we’re
pretty calm, and we know that we’re still the same as last week."
A lot of work before Arsenal
That’s a mindset that will certainly accompany the team in the second leg of the last
16 of the Champions League against Arsenal at the Camp Nou. A game that Piqué can’t play in
due to suspension: "I can’t play and it's a shame, but hopefully we’ll qualify". Pique
concluded: "there are still a lot of games before the Arsenal match, so we’ll try to win as
many league points as possible".