Ahead of the first Clasico of the season at Camp Nou, the former Arsenal midfielder insists the Catalans know where the Carlo Ancelotti’s side are most dangerous
Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas has inisisted that the side will not scrap their style to avoid Real Madrid’s strengths in Saturday’s Clasico encounter.
The Liga arch-rivals clash at 18:00CET at Camp Nou in the first showdown between the sides this season, with Gerardo Martino’s men sitting three points ahead of Carlo Ancelotti’s third-placed side, with Atletico Madrid sandwiched between them.
In has been just under three years since the Blaugrana have beaten the Blancos on Catalunya turf in La Liga or the Copa del Rey, and while Fabregas is aware of how Madrid have exploited Barca’s weaknesses in recent clashes, he insists his side will not look to abandon their manner of playing to compensate.
“Madrid haven’t liked opponents ceding them possession and waiting,” Fabregas, 26, told The Guardian, when asked if Barca are easy to play against for a team like Madrid.
“Cristiano Ronaldo finds himself with two lines of four in front of him; Gareth Bale would too. Karim Benzema’s alone. What they like is teams like Rayo Vallecano; what they like is for the opposition to come forward with the ball and then lose it.
“In two passes, Madrid are at the other end. They have such powerful players going forward. In the last few Clasicos they’ve done that very well against us, to their great credit. They’ve won possession, been aggressive and made life difficult for us, mostly on the counterattack.
“Changing our style would be an option but Barca have to play like Barca. If we lose we have to lose playing like Barca and when we win we win like Barca.
“That’s something I’ve learnt since returning. At Barca, no-one likes to lose. If you play well and lose or you play badly and lose, either way you’ve lost. But here people do appreciate that we do things a certain way, our way.
“Now we have another coach and sometimes he has other ideas, so let’s see. But, in theory, we’ll be the same Barcelona we always have been.”