Four games into the new season, Barcelona already trail their arch-rivals Real Madrid by two points. The objective, on Saturday, will be to narrow that gap.
The hurdle lying between the Catalan and the three points, however, is a vicious one. Real Betis have historically established themselves as a force to reckon with in Spain, and will not make it easy for Xavi’s men this weekend.
Real Betis manager Manuel Pellegrini spoke to the media ahead of his team’s clash against the Blaugranas tomorrow and was all praise for Xavi Hernandez’s men.
As quoted by Mundo Deportivo, he said: “Barcelona are having a great season in terms of results. Perhaps it’s not the same traditional game of so many years.
“But it’s a very ‘performing’ team that won La Liga with the difference that they did and now they are also unbeaten in this first stretch of La Liga.”
Elaborating on the Catalans’ squad and the interesting mix of players Xavi has at his disposal, the Real Betis coach said:
“Barça have very dynamic players with proven experience and young players like Pedri, Gavi, and now Lamine.
“It’s a complete squad in every sense, with youth, experience and quality, so we have to play a complete game, without mistakes, if we want to try to get points in Barcelona.”
Ez Abde was seen as a long-term asset for Barcelona and was expected to make a breakthrough this season. However, he moved to Real Betis on the deadline day of the recently concluded transfer window.
“Abde has just arrived, but he is on the squad list and everyone who has been called up has a chance to play. He is a very important addition for us, he arrived at the last minute, we needed a winger with these characteristics,” Pellegrini said on Abde’s role.
Finally, Los Verdiblacos’ manager spoke on the numerous Barça alumni in his squad including Abde, Chadi Riad, Hector Bellerin, Marc Bartra, Juan Miranda, and Sergi Altimira.
“Last year there were perhaps more of them, there was Montoya and someone else who escapes me…. It’s a motivation to try to perform as well as possible against their former team,” he commented.