Barcelona head coach Quique Setien believes Real Madrid are under greater pressure than his side heading into Sunday’s El Clasico.
Barca have lifted eight of the last 11 La Liga titles and go into the game at the Santiago Bernabeu with a two-point lead over Real, who are smarting from consecutive defeats to Levante and Manchester City.
“For Real Madrid this game is vital and much more important than it is for us,” Setien told reporters ahead of the game.
“It is a key and decisive game for them, it’s also important for us but perhaps not as important.
“It could be a very important day, a victory would give us a lead of five points but in these games the past is quickly forgotten about. I expect a very close game, we’ll see who deserves to win it more.”
Sunday’s clash in the Spanish capital is Setien’s first El Clasico, though the 61-year-old has tasted victory at the Bernabeu on two occasions as coach of Real Betis.
Barcelona have a remarkable record in recent matches at the home of their eternal rivals, winning their last four league games at the Bernabeu.
Setien is keen to build on that run but is expecting a strong showing from Real, irrespective of their recent run of poor results.
“I have always been aware of the importance of the ‘Clasico’ when I’ve been watching it from my sofa or in the stadium,” Setien said.
“If we win I’ll be happier for the fans than for myself, I’m aware of the responsibility I have.
“I would love to continue the great run that I and the club have there, although you can never go to the Bernabeu feeling relaxed. Real Madrid are always dangerous and perhaps even more when they are in situations like this.”
Real coach Zinedine Zidane admits his side are in a delicate situation as they prepare for the visit of their arch-rivals.
“This is a delicate time for us because we have not won the last three games in our stadium, but we know things like this can happen and we have to keep a positive mindset,” Zidane said.
“We will only come out of this situation by staying strong and by not listening to what people say about us.
“We will need our fans on our side from the first to last minute. I can understand why our fans are upset but we need them, and they need us, and at the very least we will give everything on the pitch.
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