Frenkie de Jong has admitted he knew he would have less playing time at Barcelona this season after a summer of speculation over his future.
The midfielder was heavily linked with an exit but made it clear whenever asked that he did not want to go and was perfectly happy at Barcelona.
De Jong did indeed stay but seems to have lost his place in the starting XI, with Pedri, Sergio Busquets, and Gavi the preferred three at the moment.
The Dutch said he knew that would be the case but is hoping he can force his way back into the reckoning and is keen to start El Clasico.
“I knew I would have less playing time. I have to make sure I start from scratch,” he said.
“I didn’t start against Bayern and I want to start against Real Madrid. I feel good physically. I have to work hard to start at the Bernabeu.
“Maybe [Xavi’s] already decided [his team], we don’t usually know until the day of the game.
“Of course we are disappointed after the game against Inter but we have to change our state of mind. cheer up and focus on the Clasico.
“We have to show that we are still a good team.”
De Jong also spoke about his situation at the club over the summer and said he stayed calm despite coming under real pressure.
“I was calm. I decided in May that I wanted to stay. My opinion never changed, although I knew the pressure would come,” he added.
“From the newspapers, from the president, yes... from everyone, in fact. I wanted to stay at Barça. None of that got me off track.”
Source | Ziggo Sport
De Jong has only started three La Liga games so far this season and it remains to be seen if he’ll get the nod against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.