The lack of room for perspective in football means that Barcelona head into this weekend's Liga Clasico needing a win. This, despite holding a 12-point gap over second placed Atletico Madrid and having a handsome 16 point advantage over Real Madrid ahead of Saturday's clash at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Events over the past fortnight have seen them beaten in the Champions League by Milan and in the Copa del Rey by Real Madrid. Most commentators have deemed it not the defeats that have been worrying, but the manner in which they were suffered and the lack of potency in attack.
In the Guardian, even before the midweek match, Sid Lowe used a common term in Spanish football when he described the League Clasico as likely being the most 'decaffeinated' in recent history. He's probably still right, but the Barcelona players, fans and Press now feel there is a point to be made.
More than ever now, questions are being, carefully, asked about the effect Tito Vilanova's absence is having on the team. Andres Iniesta said this week that he: “would be lying to say it doesn't hurt, not having the figure of a head Coach is not easy.”
But it seems unfair to turn that into criticism on Jordi Roura, Tito's assistant who has been thrust into the top job without asking for it. Marca have today criticised a lack of authority, discipline and preparation, but Roura remains upbeat in the role saying: “I'm convinced we'll climb out of this dip in form. We need to have absolute confidence in this team.”
The 45-year-old is set to make changes for the trip to the Spanish capital – as will Jose Mourinho. The difference being that the Portuguese Coach will make them with Manchester United in mind, whilst Roura can make them with the idea of freshening up an XI which has become predictable in its consistency this season.
David Villa is the most likely, and most touted, to come in and offer La Blaugrana another much-needed dimension in the attacking phase, while claims also grow louder for the sustained inclusion of young Cristian Tello. It has also been raised that perhaps it is time to move Andres Iniesta back into a central position, away from the left forward position that he has occupied for the majority of the season – and in every big game.
And if getting their season back on track with a memorable win at the Bernabeu isn't enough of a nugget, the Barcelona squad will have been further boosted by the news which Mundo Deportivo carried on their front page this morning – Tito wants to return on April 2, providing they are still in the Champions League.
It seems strange that with the League nearly wrapped up, it is Barca who need the win this weekend. But that is the case. It is needed not just to restore pride, but to breath confidence back into a tiring squad ahead of their date with Milan in Camp Nou next week.