Barcelona will travel to the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday as they take on arch-rivals Real Madrid in the first El Clasico of the 2022/23 season.
The top spot in the La Liga table will be on the line in the game. Barça are currently leading the title race and are ahead of Los Blancos on goal difference.
However, heading into the game, the confidence within the camp could be low following the 3-3 draw against Inter Milan which has left the team on the cusp of elimination from the UEFA Champions League.
And, according to journalist Tomas Roncero on El Chiringuito TV, Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti conveyed to his players that it is the right time for them to strike at Barcelona and make sure they punish the Catalans on Sunday.
Before a training session on Thursday, Ancelotti reportedly sent a message to his players which was something along the lines of:
“Barça are dead right now, and the only way they can revive is by beating us on Sunday. We can’t let them win again. This is a final.”
While Barcelona might have been held to a draw by Inter, Real Madrid, too, have failed to win their last game as they just about managed to salvage a point against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League, although that was enough for them to qualify for the knockout stages.
Barça did thrash Real Madrid 4-0 on their last visit to the Santiago Bernabeu in March earlier this year. And Xavi & co. must draw confidence from that encounter ahead of their weekend trip to the Spanish capital.
The results in the Champions League have led to some pressure on the manager and the team and while winning El Clasico will not right all the wrongs, it will certainly take some of the pressure away and could act as a springboard for the rest of the season.