Thiago predicts Barca backlash
Barcelona midfielder Thiago Alcantara plays down La Liga draws this term
Thiago Alcantara has warned Barcelona's rivals not to expect a dip in form on return from the international break this weekend.
Critics have claimed the La Liga and European Champions have their struggles when returning to domestic action after playing for their various countries, pointing to the 2-2 draw against Real Sociedad as an example of the problem.
However, Thiago suggests that the result was simply an unfortunate coincidence, and that Real Zaragoza should not expect the same fortune when they face Pep Guardiola's side this weekend.
"The fact that we've had complications in games after international breaks is fairly random," he told the official Barca website.
"We're back and we have the same desire to win as we did before. The fact that the majority of Barca's first-team players are named in national squads is great. It shows the hard work the players put in at the club."
Sitting three points behind Real Madrid, the form of Lionel Messi is likely to be key for the Catalan giants as they look to bring the title back to the Nou Camp for a fourth straight year.
However, critics have rounded on the FIFA World Player of the Year for his form with Argentina, something Thiago was quick to dismiss.
"It's a real joy to be able to play games and train alongside Leo Messi, he's a one-of-a-kind player," he added.
"I don't understand the critics, but you have to respect them. Messi should always play."