Pirès: EPL is stronger than La Liga
Villarreal wide-man Robert Pires feels that the English Premier League is stronger than La Liga following the elimination of all but one of Spain's Champions League challengers in midweek.
Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United all successfully booked their places in the quarterfinals of the competition during the week and Liverpool is also favored to progress from its tie with Inter Milan.
Barcelona is the only remaining Spanish participant and Pires feels that this is indication enough than the Premier League is currently the stronger competition.
"In Spain, only Barcelona made it through, so it is necessary to accept that the Premier League is currently stronger," he told the gathered press ahead of Villarreal's game against the Catalan giants this weekend.
"[The Premier League] is very hard physically, there is a lot of work in training and the matches are played at a faster pace. There is no let-up in their games. Everyone plays attacking football to win matches. At the moment, it could be said that it is the harder league."
The discussion moved to their game at the Nou Camp on Sunday, a match in which Pires believes it will be difficult to obtain a positive result.
"It is a great stadium and the quality that the players of Barcelona have means that you have to do a lot of work off the ball. For that reason, it is very hard to win there."
If Villarreal was to win the game then it would be just four points behind Barça in the standings, but Pires insisted that its primary objective for now was to secure a top four finish.
"Our objective is nothing further than to ensure our qualification for the Champions League. Some people speak of Madrid and Barcelona, but if we are able to win on Sunday we would be four points behind them and could have the chance of fighting for something," he concluded.