Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho has called on his players to prove that their attitude is right by overcoming a 3-2 first leg deficit in Wednesday night's Spanish Supercopa decider at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
The Liga champions' wobbly start to the new season continued when they were beaten 2-1 at Getafe on Sunday, prompting Mourinho to criticise their focus. The Portuguese coach told reporters in Madrid on Tuesday that he had challenged his players to demonstrate their mental strength.
"I spoke with them, but I am not going to say now what we talked about," Mourinho said. "My only problem was the difference in behaviour from the first two games. I can lose a game, but my priority now is to know if the attitude we had against Getafe was temporary or a particular psychological issue that my players have. That is all I am interested in."
Mourinho said he would be happy if his players showed the same attitude as in last week's game at the Camp Nou, when he claimed they were unfortunate to lose. "In the Supercopa first leg, we played well against a difficult opponent," he added. "We lost 3-2, a result which leaves the tie open. That was acceptable. We do not need to do anything different than we did at the Camp Nou.
"We have all seen the same game and how they got back from 0-1 to 1-1 in just one minute was important. We played a good game and we will try and play another good game."
Madrid centre-half Pepe is available again after a head injury, and although Mourinho suggested it was too early for new €37 million signing Luka Modric to make his debut, the ex-Tottenham man is included in the squad along with Kaka. At his post-game press conference, Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova dismissed the idea that this was a good time to play Real.
"Not having won in three games makes Madrid dangerous," Vilanova said. "They are always difficult to play in their own stadium, and with their squad, but this situation makes them even more dangerous, because they will be even more motivated to win."
Barcelona's good record at the Bernabeu in recent years - seven games unbeaten - was irrelevant Vilanova said, adding that his team would not be sitting back to get the draw they need to take the trophy.
"The past is not important," he said. "There is no clear favourite, and a clear favourite often loses in these games. It is not easy to win there, not at all. Madrid always start quickly and look to score an early goal. The tie is very open - we know that, to win the Supercopa, we will need to score there."
The Catalans' captain Carles Puyol trained with his team-mates on Tuesday despite breaking a cheekbone in Sunday's 2-1 win at Osasuna, and travels with the squad along with recently recovered midfielder Thiago Alcantara.