Pique: El Clasico more crucial to Barcelona than Real Madrid

Getty Images
The defender has warned his team-mates that they cannot afford to lose to their arch-rivals for the sake of their title bid, given how often they have slipped up already

Gerard Pique admitted the upcoming El Clasico is more important for Barcelona than Real Madrid, warning that his team cannot afford to lose.

Liverpool can still have a Merry Christmas with Coutinho returning in the New Year

Madrid are flying high atop La Liga, six points clear of their rivals ahead of Saturday's encounter at Camp Nou.

Luis Enrique's men have stuttered in the start of their title defence this term, and were held to a 1-1 draw against Real Sociedad on Sunday.

And the need to make up for lost ground makes the clash crucial for Barcelona, who have now drawn consecutive games, according to Pique.

"It is more important for us than them," he said to Mundo Deportivo. "Because if they won, they would go nine points clear and it would be difficult."

Barca needed a second-half goal from Lionel Messi to earn a point at Anoeta at the weekend and were fortunate to have emerged with a point.

Zola: Frank Lampard would make a great manager

But Pique played down the significance of the result, saying: "Yesterday was not a great day.

"Things did not go quite right. It was a point that is now not so bad.

"After showering and reflecting, I think if we win on Saturday things will be different."