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Aug 28, 2012

Pique: Beating Real not an extra incentive

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique insists the chance to win a trophy at the home of bitter rivals Real Madrid is not an extra motivation ahead of the Spanish Supercopa second-leg.

• Blog: Pique on form for Clasico
• Vilanova hails Barca resilience
• AC Milan expect Bojan deal

Pique and his team-mates travel to the Bernabeu on Wednesday night holding a 3-2 advantage from last week's first game in Barcelona but the Spain defender says their only focus is on retaining the cup, not the prospect of getting one over on Madrid.

"The most important thing is the trophy, not where we win it," Pique said. "To lift the Supercopa at the Bernabeu is an anecdote. It will not be the first time or the last time we do it.

"We are thinking about ourselves and in winning a fourth consecutive Supercopa. Sometimes I think we are not aware of what we are achieving."

Pique, who was dropped from the Barcelona side last season under then-coach Pep Guardiola, believes he has learned from his experiences in 2011-12 and is now playing better football.

"You learn lessons in your life," Pique said. "When things go well you overcome things without any problems, if they go badly, turning the situation around is very difficult.

"I am looking to learn from what I went through last year. On a personal level, it is clear that it was not my best year and now I want to help the team."

New coach Tito Vilanova had appeared certain to select Javier Mascherano and Pique at centre-half for Wednesday's game after Carles Puyol fractured a cheekbone during Sunday's 2-1 win at Osasuna, but the Barca captain returned to training Tuesday despite the injury.

And Pique is not surprised at his team-mate's willingness to play through the pain, saying: "Knowing him he will be ready. He will fight to be able to play."

Madrid's 2-1 loss at Getafe on Sunday means the Catalans are already five points ahead of their main rivals in the La Liga title race, though Pique feels it is early days yet.

"It is surprising that Madrid have lost five points in two games," he said. "They had not lost a game since December. But Madrid is Madrid, one of the biggest teams in the world and they can put together 30 wins in a row. We must be prepared."

Luka Modric could make his debut for Los Blancos in the Supercopa after completing his €37 million move from Tottenham, and former Manchester United defender Pique believes the latest arrival from the Premier League could prove an excellent addition.

"Modric is a very good player," Pique said. "We played against him in the Euros. He has good technique. We will see how he settles in."

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