Barcelona’s Pique issues warning over Solari’s Clasico rest complaints

Barcelona, Clubs, Real Madrid, Spanish Copa del Rey, Story
Lionel Messi brought Barcelona back from a goal down twice, then sealed the deal with a deft chip over the keeper for the win and the 50th hat-trick of his career.
Following last week’s shock defeat to Girona, Real Madrid travel to Levante in search of an essential three points.

Gerard Pique suggested Real Madrid should be careful what they wished for after coach Santiago Solari complained that Barcelona would have an extra day’s rest before Wednesday’s Copa del Rey Clasico.

Madrid coach Solari said it was “curious” that Barca played Sevilla on Saturday while his side had to wait until Sunday to play Levante, and also pointed out that Barca had had an extra day off before the Copa del Rey semifinal first leg.

The two meet in the return at the Bernabeu with the scores tied at 1-1 from the first leg before facing each other at the same stadium in La Liga on Saturday.

Pique said an extra day of rest did not always have much impact, pointing out that Madrid had enjoyed a longer rest before being heavily beaten at the Camp Nou earlier in the season.

“The last time they had one day more rest than us we won 5-1,” the centre-back told reporters after Barca came from behind to beat Sevilla 4-2 thanks to Lionel Messi‘s 50th career hat-trick.

“I know they’re looking forward to facing us. They will be really up for it, but we will do everything possible to reach the cup final.

“Then winning the league game wouldn’t decide the title — but it would make a huge statement if we won.”

La Liga leaders Barca had scored once in their last two games before putting four past Sevilla, and Pique praised their return to form.

“We’re not playing our best football, but we’re still alive in all three competitions,” he added. “It was vital to win [on Saturday]. We’ve been good in defence in recent games but not so much in attack. But today we played better.

“Catalans have a tendency to see the glass half empty but Messi was really good today, scoring a hat trick and setting up another goal. We have to think [positively], and that we have Messi on our side.”

Midfielder Ivan Rakitic, who set up Messi’s first goal, said reaching the Copa del Rey final was more important than the fact that Barca were playing Madrid, and also played down reports that he could leave in the summer.

“I have three more years on my contract,” he told reporters. “I want to stay here. I’m flattered that big clubs ask about me, if they do, but I only see myself at Barca.

“I laugh a little bit in the morning with my coffee when I see [stories] about my future.”

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