Gerard Pique remained confident that Barcelona could recover from Wednesday’s Champions League defeat in time for Sunday’s La Liga Clasico against Real Madrid.
One day after he sent out a taunting tweet during Real Madrid’s quarterfinal win over Bayern Munich, the Barcelona defender faced a Champions League exit at the hands of Juventus after a goalless second leg.
There are only four days before Barcelona’s next big test, and Pique said he and his teammates must get past the disappointment before the Clasico.
“We are human, of course something is going to affect us,” he said. “On Sunday there’s another big match, and we’ll go there to compete and try and win.
“Even if we are not in our best moment, I believe we can go there and win.”
A defeat against Real Madrid would leave Barcelona six points behind their title rivals having played a game more, and coach Luis Enrique said the occasion would provide “the best motivation” to overcome Wednesday’s loss.
“Picking youself up after a defeat like this is hard, but we have the best motivation a Cule can have,” Luis Enrique said, “which is visit the home of our eternal rival — there’s no better place than to go to than the Bernabeu.
“It will be as special as ever and it’s a marvellous stimulus: a key game against the leader, a direct opponent. We have to get ready and compete and I am sure we will do that.”
Barcelona earned 13 corner kicks and took 19 shots against Juventus at the Camp Nou, but they only managed to put a single attempt on target.
Pique praised Juventus’ dedication to defending and said they were capable of beating Real Madrid, Atletico and Monaco to the European title.
“Juventus are a great team and were the better team over the tie. I wish them the best until the final, I believe they can win it,” he said.
“We played our game, and at the start created chances, but they built a mountain. It was a result that was very difficult to turn around and it wasn’t to be.
“They are Italians and know how to defend well, they are specialists in this. They came to play their football and they succeeded.”
Pique also praised the Barcelona fans for sticking by the team in defeat, saying: “This is a hard defeat, but the supporters singing like that tonight deserves to be recorded.
“It’s one of the few times I’ve seen the Camp Nou like this after a defeat. It fills me with pride and makes me emotional to see that despite having lost.”