‘Barca returned to origins’

Javier Mascherano believes that Barcelona’s win over Milan on Tuesday was most important for the team’s return to what works.

After a difficult run of results kick-started by a 2-0 defeat to the Rossoneri in the first leg of their Champions League Last 16 tie, Barca bounced back this week to defeat the Italians 4-0 on the night.

Securing a place in the quarter-finals, the result has left Argentine Mascherano, who played in place of Carles Puyol in defence, very happy.

“More than the result, and the happiness for qualifying, we’ve gone back to our origins, and that’s what we should feel the most pleased about,” he told Barca TV today.

“Let’s hope there are no more setbacks. We have to make sure we stay on this track, regardless of results…

“We have done things the same way all along, but that series of bad results affected our confidence. The team just wasn’t playing the same way.

“This Tuesday the fans have gone home knowing that the team was recognisable.

“Scoring after just five minutes gave us the chance to play more calmly and was not good for Milan because they knew there was a long match ahead.

“We created so much pressure. For each Milan player, there were three for Barca. It’s infectious. If the player beside you creates pressure, then you do too.”

For this optimism, Mascherano did admit to being unhappy with his own performance, that saw a mistake present M’Baye Niang with a golden opportunity to score.

“I’m not going home satisfied. One move can change the course of the whole season and their chance came from a mistake by me.

“You can’t afford errors like that in a team like Barca. We could have ended up out of the Champions League.

“What we have achieved in the last five years is crazy… It is easier to analyse what’s happened over the last fortnight, but there are so many more things to analyse.

“This team is still competitive, and that’s what we should be appreciating. We shouldn’t turn one defeat into a tragedy. Real Madrid denied us one final opportunity.

“They have a great team, with some great players. And neither have we suddenly entered paradise. We have passed this test, but there are still eight great teams left in the Champions league.

“We have to carry on like that. This club can’t let its arms down.”

Tags Mascherano Milan