Gerard Pique is expected to start in central defence for Barcelona in their Champions League quarter-final second leg against Atletico Madrid, despite sustaining a knock against Real Sociedad at the weekend. The Spain international missed training on 11 April after complaining of hip discomfort, sparking fears he may miss the midweek trip to the Vicente Calderon.

However, Catalan daily Sport said the centre-back's absence from the workout was only precautionary and that the problem is unlikely to stop him from playing the second leg on 13 April.

The news is a major boost for Barcelona boss Luis Enrique, who has already been deprived of the services of defenders Thomas Vermaelen, Jeremy Mathieu and Aleix Vidal through injury for the crucial match.

Brazilian forward Rafinha will also miss the trip to Madrid after suffering a leg injury in the 1-0 defeat against Real Sociedad.

'Special game'

The Catalan giants hold a slender advantage in the quarter-final tie against Atletico after a 2-1 win in the first leg at Camp Nou.

However, their lead over Atletico in La Liga has shrunk to just three points after back-to-back defeats against Real Madrid and Real Sociedad.

Meanwhile, Barca playmaker Ivan Rakitic suggested that the Catalans were unlucky to lose at Anoeta and urged his teammates to move on from the Sociedad defeat.

"I never like to swallow defeat but we may be a little pleased with what has happened in general, if not with what is happening in games at this time," he was quoted as saying by FourFourTwo.

Fernando Torres
Fernando Torres was sent off as Barcelona secured a narrow win over Atletico Madrid at Camp Nou Getty

"We will try to look forward and forget [the Sociedad] match. It was a defeat determined by small details.

"Sometimes the ball does not want to go into the net, but we have to keep looking ahead because we've performed well and were dominant. If we are not able to create chances, then we should be worried," the Croatia international continued.

"We are all united like a big family. We have to stick with this mentality for the next match. We have no doubt.

"Sometimes you get something like a victory over Atletico – a special game like last week could be a boost."