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Barcelona defender ready for Vinicius challenge after facing Mbappe – ‘One of the best’

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Photo courtesy: Getty Images

Still coping with their shocking elimination from the UEFA Champions League, Barcelona see no respite on their hectic schedule.

Days after disaster struck in Montjuic, they travel to Madrid to take on their arch-rivals in El Clasico, a game that could not have arrived at a worse juncture.

Barcelona are yet to win against Real Madrid this season, and the momentum of both teams suggests a rough night ahead once more for the men in garnet and blue.

Should they turn up for the occasion, however, one knows that they are capable of taking down the very best.

Speaking to the media ahead of El Clasico (h/t FCB World), Barcelona star Jules Kounde elaborated on a number of topics including the team’s approach to the upcoming game, his position on the field and the importance of the Clasico.

He began by clarifying that he never denied playing at right-back when asked by Xavi, contrary to what was reported in the media.

“I never refused to play in any position. But sometimes that’s what people say. For me, it is not a problem.”

“True, my natural position is centre-back. So it was difficult for me and I had to work to improve my performance. And I think that’s what I do, it’s true that playing there makes me feel more comfortable,” he added on his conspicuous improvement in the new role.

He then insisted that he still had a long way to go and a lot to learn as a full-back, indirectly even hinting that his position change could be one for the long term.

“I still have a lot to improve at all levels because defending in the centre and defending on the wing are two completely different things. You face different types of players.”

Kounde then elaborated on what fascinated him about playing and succeeding in a new position when compared to his comfort zone in central defence.

“It’s another challenge, I see it as a challenge to be more complete as a player, to progress in some aspects.”

“And really, that’s what excites me, always improving, being a better player. Playing on the wing allows me to do that, although as I always said, my favourite position is central defence,” he added.

Kounde will face Vinicius tomorrow. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

After doing a phenomenal job against Kylian Mbappe midweek, Kounde will be up against Vinicius Jr on Sunday night. Commenting on the challenge up ahead, he said,

“I think he is without a doubt one of the best wingers in the world, so I face him with great desire. I think it will also be a collective issue because players like Kylian, Vinicius or others are difficult.”

“You won’t be able to stop him alone in every match. You have to do it collectively, so you shouldn’t leave him space or time to think,” he elaborated.

He then went on to reveal his thoughts on Carlo Ancelotti’s side and how Barcelona planned to outdo their rivals at Santiago Bernabeu.

“We played against Madrid a lot. We know what their strengths and shortcomings are. So we are improving, working tactically on what we can do to get the three points and play a big game.”

“I think against Madrid it’s important to have the ball. And take care of it, minimizing losses because we know that one of their big strengths is launching counter-attacks,” he added on the game plan.

The defender then revealed what made them a tricky opposition to face, saying,

“They have fast players, they are also a team that shoots a lot for goal. When they get a chance they usually score and that’s what we’ll need to do as well.”

Rounding up his interview, Kounde urged his teammates to put the rough loss midweek behind them and appear on the field rejuvenated for an equally daunting clash.

“We will go with everything we have, it is final. Just winning is enough and we’re going for it.”

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