Neymar's holiday and Piqué's warning

Next up at Camp Nou after Real Madrid, are city neighbours Atlético. Gerard Piqué commented publicly that tonight’s game will be more complicated than El Clasico. It’s generally felt now that Barca’s pre match preparation ahead of Saturday’s game could have been better. I was reminded yesterday that Neymar took full advantage of time with the Brazil team, despite being suspended to spend extra days in his homeland and that time was not spent with the national team squad. After a few extra days of pleasure we saw how he poorly performed on Saturday during the 90 minutes at Camp Nou.

Each football team has the ability to trip themselves up. Barça have been given a warning and Simeone stated his intention to win tonight at yesterday’s pre game press conference. He feels that his Atletico side is capable of eliminating the Catalan side as they did two seasons ago and watching Barça capitulate in the last 15 minutes on Saturday will have encouraged him even more. He won’t face a front trio suffering from jet lag, but will take on a side who have been beaten finally after 39 matches. A team that got out of the wrong side of the bed on Saturday.

565969177Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar (C) celebrates with Barcelona's Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez (L) and Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi

We all know that Barça are a phenomenal side going forward. If the front three fail to perform then responsibility falls on the likes of Piqué whose courage and believe is truly admirable. Will the trident play well today? I imagine so. Their body clocks will have adjusted and will now be aware that putting on the Barça shirt alone does not secure wins. This is possibly a good thing for Luis Enrique who wields minimum weight on his front line as was witnessed with Neymar’s absence last week. Atlético are not in Barcelona to make up the numbers, they’ve seen what we all saw on Saturday and are aiming for a semi-final place.