Pique pokes fun at Real Madrid trophy record

The defender believes Barcelona would be ridiculed had they won just one Liga and one Copa del Rey in five years, and has defended Lionel Messi from criticism over his goal drought

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has taunted Real Madrid over their recent trophy record, suggesting his own side would be heavily criticised in the same situation.

Los Blancos have only one Liga title to their name since the 2007-08 season, while solitary triumphs in the Copa del Rey in 2011 and the Spanish Supercopa in 2012 have been dwarfed by Barca’s 16 trophies over the same five-year period.

The Blaugrana have undergone a notable change in philosophy under Gerardo Martino this season, with the tiki-taka stylings of Pep Guardiola’s outfit often abandoned in favour of a more direct approach. But Pique believes playing to win remains the most important objective for his side in order to add to their incredible recent trophy haul.

“With time and with a new coach it might be that our style of play is no longer so important. It’s about playing to win and, if we can, playing well,” he told Barca TV.

“Comparisons to Guardiola’s Barca don’t hurt us but people are accustomed to it. Take Madrid as an  example. Imagine what would happen in Madrid, what would say if we had won a league and a cup in five years.

“More is asked of Barca because it is a big club. I’m not saying we are playing fantastically, but ultimately we play every three days.

“But the important thing is to win. We are practical. We won the Supercopa by being practical, so we have another trophy in the museum. November and December are two important months for us. We’ll see if we can continue like this.”

Lionel Messi scored only one goal in an injury-hit October and failed to find the net once again in Friday’s 1-0 win over city rivals Espanyol, but Pique has defended the Argentine’s contribution in recent matches and insists he is unfairly scrutinised.

“He’s gone four games without scoring but he brings quality touches. He opens spaces. He will score,” said the Spain international.

“It seems as though he is solely responsible for us winning every game. He isn’t scoring but he’s working for the team.”

Alexis Sanchez was once more the hero for Barca with his second-half strike enough to earn the points on Friday, and Pique admits the Chilean has grown in confidence this season after struggling for form over the past two years.

He added: “He’s cheerful, he always seems very happy. There are players from whom Camp Nou demands more and he has risen to that, and gained confidence. His confidence has changed him.”

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