Ernesto Valverde Says Barcelona's Extra Rest Day 'Small Advantage' for Clasico

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2019

Barcelona's Spanish coach Ernesto Valverde arrives for a press conference at the Joan Gamper Sports City training centre in Sant Joan Despi, on December 17, 2019 on the eve of their Spanish League football match against Real Madrid. (Photo by LLUIS GENE / AFP) (Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images)
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Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde believes his side will have a "small advantage" over Real Madrid in Wednesday's Clasico as they have had one day longer to prepare.

The Catalan side last played on Saturday afternoon, when they drew 2-2 with Real Sociedad at the Anoeta Stadium.

Real, meanwhile, did not play their Week 17 La Liga fixture until Sunday evening, and they could only draw 1-1 with Valencia at the Mestalla Stadium.

The first Clasico of the season was set to take place in October, but it had to be rescheduled:

B/R Football @brfootball

OFFICIAL: Next week's Barcelona vs. Real Madrid Clasico has been postponed—the clubs have until 21 October to agree a new date https://t.co/hGpbMLJYGl

B/R Football @brfootball

Originally: 26 October Now: 18 December Why the delay is the best thing that could have happened to El Clasico ⚔️ #BRFootballRanks

Valverde believes the new date has given his side a slight advantage, which is only likely to be enhanced given the match is at the Camp Nou, per Marca's A. Segura: 

"Having a day extra can have an influence, yes. It's a small advantage. The way the match was originally scheduled, it was us who were supposed to have a day less. Both teams know how to prepare in these situations and motivation is at its highest. Last year we played on a Wednesday and then a Saturday and the response was very good."

Barcelona have had a distinct edge recently in matches against their biggest rivals.

Last season they played four times against Real, winning three and drawing the other.

Los Blancos and the Blaugrana are level on points at the top of La Liga, as they have been since early last month:

LaLiga @LaLigaEN

So where's your team on the #LaLigaSantander table after Matchday 17? 🏆👀 https://t.co/pjtdsnFYfh

As such, there is a huge amount riding on Wednesday's clash because a win could mean taking a three-point lead at the top of the table into the winter break.

However, while matches between Real and Barca are invariably entertaining occasions, the situation at the top of the league means there is the potential for a cagey affair given a point would not be a blow for either side.