Martino: Draw will not be good enough

Barcelona boss Gerardo Martino has admitted that his side need to beat Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday if they are to have any chance of retaining their La Liga title. Three defeats in their last seven La Liga games have left the Catalans four points behind leaders Madrid with just ten games remaining.

And with Real having not lost in any competition since the sides last met in October, Martino knows Barça have a unique opportunity to get themselves back into the title race.

"I think it is probably the last chance we will have because after this game there are only nine games left and it is not the same thing to come back from one point behind to four or seven," he said on Saturday.

"Teams at this point of the season, particularly those ones fighting for the league, don't make that many slip ups.

"I don't think a draw is a good result for us. The circumstances of the game always indicate whether it is a good result or not as well, but I think it is clear that we need to win the game tomorrow."

Barça's away form has been the principal reason that they have ceded an early season advantage over Madrid as they have won just one of five league games on the road in 2014, including defeats at Real Sociedad and Valladolid.

We have to think more about what we did in Manchester than what we did in Valladolid and try to aim for that type of performance.
Barcelona head coach Gerardo Martino ahead of El Clásicoead of

However, Martino's men did manage a 2-0 win away to Manchester City last month which guided them into the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League and he is looking for a repeat of that performance at the Bernabeu.

"It is true that there have been games away from home where we have not played well, but there have also been some important ones where we have.

"We have to think more about what we did in Manchester than what we did in Valladolid and try to aim for that type of performance."

Neymar is expected to be recalled by Martino despite the fine form shown by Pedro Rodriguez and Alexis Sanchez in Barça's 7-0 destruction of Osasuna last weekend.

The Brazilian star has had an underwhelming first season in Spain with controversy over his transfer from Santos dominating the headlines rather than his performances on the field.

Yet, Martino insisted that the 22-year-old has nothing to prove.

"Firstly, I think he played very well against Manchester City in the second leg and, secondly, I will reaffirm what I have said many times that Neymar is one of the top five players in the world.

"I don't need to see one match, half a match, nor even ten matches to confirm the qualities that he has. I don't think it will be long before people stop talking about him like just another player because he isn't."

Montoya extends deal until 2018
Barcelona full-back Martin Montoya has agreed a deal with the club to extend his contract until the end of the 2017/18 season.

The Spanish U-21 international had been free to talk to other clubs since January as his previous deal expires at the end of the current campaign and had reportedly attracted interest from a number of English Premier League clubs, including Liverpool.

However, he has put an end to speculation over his future by penning a new deal which includes a buy-out clause of €20m.

Montoya has made 53 appearances for the Catalans since graduating to the first-team squad from the club's academy in 2012.