De Pedro defuses snub row

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JAVIER DE PEDRO has attempted to play down the controversy surrounding his omission from Real Sociedad's Champions League squad on Wednesday by insisting he was simply not fit enough for the clash.

The Spanish international was overlooked for the encounter with Olympiakos by boss Raynald Denoueix who claimed the snub was for non-sporting reasons.

However, de Pedro believes the fact he was not 100 percent fit was the sole reason for his absence, and stated he would be working hard to reclaim his place.

"Now we have to look to have everyone at 100 percent because these are very important games," said the 29-year-old.

"If you are not at 100 percent, it's better that you are not there, for the good of the group.

"The coach decides. I will continue to train and, when I can, get my place back and that's that."

De Pedro also had words of sympathy for his replacement on Wednesday night, Jose Javier Barkero, who put in a disappointing display, even coming in for some criticism from the Sociedad fans.

"The fans did not have patience with him, and all he needed was support. It's normal that he was nervous," concluded de Pedro.