Pique reignites war of words with Mourinho

The centre-back has suggested that the Portuguese coach has a number of dressing room problems to deal with at the Santiago Bernabeu, while praising the work of Tito Vilanova
Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has struck another verbal blow in his ongoing dispute with Jose Mourinho.

The 25-year-old centre-back was absent for Sunday's 2-2 draw with Real Madrid, but was keen to reignite his personal war of words with the Portuguese coach after Barcelona maintained their eight-point advantage over their fierce rivals.

"It is clear that there is not that same tension [towards Barcelona] that Mourinho had last season," Pique told Catalunya Radio.

"Mourinho has realised that there is no need to look at Barcelona because he will not find any problems.

"And now it seems that he is looking for it in his own house."

Pique then insisted that the title race is still very much open despite Barca's early lead.

"The truth is that we expect a very good year, with many challenges and emotions," he explained.

"The league is not won, it is true, but no one imagined a start so good.

"Do not forget that in my first year we had 12 points and had to go to the Bernabeu to win the league."

The former-Manchester United defender was also keen to praise Tito Vilanova, who has handled the task of succeeding Mourinho with aplomb so far.

"He has won over the dressing room. He has something special," he added.

"We anticipate some great years with him at the helm."

A foot injury has sidelined Pique for Spain's World Cup 2014 qualifier against Belarus, but the defender expects to be back for the Blaugrana's clash with relegation-threatened Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday, October 20.

He stated: "The injury is fine and I will be back against Depor."