PREVIEW: Pique sees Cup as chance to get back on track

Thu Dec 5, 2013 5:45am EST
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By Tim Hanlon

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Barcelona have an ideal opportunity to lift their sagging morale and return to winning ways when they face lower league side Cartagena away in the King's Cup, according to defender Gerard Pique.

The La Liga champions will take part in the fourth round of the Cup as the top flight Spanish league takes a break from action this weekend.

Barcelona recently lost 2-1 at Ajax Amsterdam in the Champions League before going down 1-0 at Athletic Bilbao in the La Liga.

"In Cartagena, we want to demonstrate that we are not in the deep depression that it appears and that we can lift ourselves and get back to winning," Pique told a news conference.

"It is a good chance to play a good game again and that will build our confidence and morale.

"We either sink or we respond. We are getting better all the time but we need to improve our confidence and in games we have not been able to fight back which has been a problem.

"There have been ups and down like in Amsterdam which was unacceptable."

The defeats have added fire to the constant debate about the more direct approach of coach Gerardo Martino and also over the training methods with a recent spate of injuries to the players, including Lionel Messi and goalkeeper Victor Valdes.   Continued...

Barcelona's Gerard Pique attends a news conference after a training session at Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper in Sant Joan Despi near Barcelona, September 17, 2013. REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino