Pique: Mourinho is a source of unrest

Barcelona's Gerard Pique believes that Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho was sowing tension between the two sides which led to a series of explosive Clasico clashes.

The two shake hands before the rivalry begins.

By ESPNSTAR.com staff

The Clasico last Sunday at Camp Nou which ended in a 2-2 draw after a brace each from Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi was played out in a friendly note as compared to the Clasico fixtures last season where flare-ups, red cards and melees took center stage.

Mourinho was caught poking current Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova's eye in the fracas that ensued after last season's clash and Pique believes that the Portuguese's deliberate attempt at sowing tension has backfired given Real Madrid's off-field problems this season.

Real Madrid are currently eight points behind Barcelona after losses to Getafe and Sevilla and are not being helped by off-field woes; first team players Sergio Ramos and Mesut Ozil were dropped in a bid to motivate the team, Ronaldo has hinted at unhappiness over an issue with the club and Mourinho openly criticised players after poor performances.

"The tension that there was between us and Real Madrid last year has passed," Pique told Radio Catalunya, "Mourinho has realised that he should not look for something in Barcelona because he will find nothing. At the end he is looking for that [tension] at home.

"When you are behind in the table, you do not feel so good," he said. "Last year [with Barca] is an example - it takes its toll. Madrid have their problems now, but I should not get into that."

Pique is currently out with an ankle injury and is scheduled to make a comeback after the international break against Deportivo la Coruna. However, he will be missing his regular defence partner Carles Puyol after the club captain dislocated his elbow against Benfica in the Champions League. 

The former Manchester United defender blamed Puyol's all-out attitude for causing the injury but also accepted that it was a two-edged sword that helped the veteran as well.

"It makes you angry watching it," Pique said. "He never learns. He is not 24 years old any more. And in the 80th minute, 2-0 ahead, he jumps like that... But that is Puyi. If he did not do that he would not be Puyol."

Vilanova was missing both central defenders in the Clasico and chose to start left back Adriano out of position instead of giving a chance to youngsters Marca Bartra or Andreu Fontas.

Pique sympathised with the youngsters, pointing out that it is difficult for a defender to break into the first team at the age of 21, as he found out at Manchester United earlier in his career.

"[Bartra] is at the age where he should have already played, but centre-back is a difficult position," Pique said. "The same thing happened to me in Manchester. Bartra and Fontas are very good centre-halves. They play in the Barca style, bring the ball out well from the back, but they must have patience."

As for the title race, Pique warned that the eight point lead Barcelona command over Real Madrid may mean little this early into the season.

"In my first year [back at Barcelona - 2008-09], we were 12 points ahead of Madrid," he said. "Then we had to go to the Bernabeu to win because if we lost Madrid would have been only one point behind. This Madrid are much better than that Madrid. La Liga is not won. That year we lost two games in a row, and six points were gone."

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