Thiago confident of Supercopa glory
Barcelona youngster Thiago Alcantara believes Barcelona are in "pole position" to win their third trophy of 2011 by beating rivals Real Madrid in the Spanish Supercopa.
Primera Division champions Barcelona take on Copa del Rey winners Real Madrid this Sunday in the first leg of Spanish football's traditional curtain raiser.
The first clash between the arch-rivals, who met five times last season, will be played at the Bernabeu, with the second leg at Camp Nou three days later.
Real only beat the Catalans once in 2010-11 - a 1-0 victory in the Copa del Rey final - and Thiago, whose influential displays at the European Under-21 Championship in June were rewarded with a senior debut for Spain earlier this week, believes Barca are favourites to beat Los Blancos again.
"It's quite simple: I think that Barcelona will win the trophy," Thiago told Sport. When you master all defensive and offensive aspects of the game and always enjoy the majority of possession, you're sitting in pole position to win.
"We realise that our hard work and typical style of play have led to a lot of success and will continue to play like this. Real Madrid are our biggest rivals and you never want to lose against them. That's the case now, too."
Jose Mourinho has brought several new faces to Real over the summer, with Fabio Coentrao, Raphael Varane, Nuri Sahin, Hamit Altintop and Jose Maria Callejon all arriving at the Bernabeu as the club looks to topple Barca at home and abroad.
The Catalans have been quieter in the transfer market, with Alexis Sanchez their only signing so far, though Cesc Fabregas will likely be added before the season starts.
Barcelona beat Sevilla 5-3 on aggregate in last year's Spanish Supercopa and have won the trophy a record nine times.