Update on Jules Kounde injury ahead of El Clasico

Barcelona defender Jules Kounde is a serious doubt for Sunday’s Clasico against Real Madrid, although he is not giving up hope entirely.

Kounde suffered a hamstring injury while playing for France, and it was initially feared he would be sidelined for a sustained period of time.

However, scans subsequently showed that he had not torn his hamstring as first feared and he would be back in time to face Real Madrid.

That timeline appears to have been overly optimistic, though. The defender will definitely not be ready for the crunch Champions League clash with Inter, and his hopes of make the Clasico are also fading fast.

Kounde himself is understood to be keen to step up his rehabilitation in a bid to prove his fitness, but the Barcelona medical staff are expected to hold him back and pencil in a later return date instead.

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Barca boss Xavi Hernandez, meanwhile, is more focused on his attack than his defence right now. He watched his side kept at arm’s length by Inter in the reverse fixture despite dominating possession, and he says improving the supply line to Robert Lewandowski is going to be the key to transforming their fortunes.

“We’ve not been in our best moment since the international break,” Xavi said on Sunday. “Three weeks ago we were flying, and now we’re not, we have to improve.

“We have to find [Lewandowski] more.  The forwards need goals to generate confidence.”

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