Cesc Fabregas believes Barcelona have something left in the tank for the final few months of the season.
Speaking at a Press conference, the midfielder defended Tata Martino from criticism that has come the Coach’s way since last weekend’s defeat to Real Sociedad and added that Barca hoped to go top of the table this weekend.
“We’re aware that we didn’t have a good match [against La Real],” Fabregas said.
“We lacked togetherness and intensity, we needed to defend better as a unit: crucial aspects that you need to get right to win a match nowadays.
“We’re the first to accept that. We’ve had time to reflect. We want to get back to where we want to be.
“An important game is also being played in Madrid [the derby between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid]. Let’s see if we can get back to top spot on Sunday.”
Fabregas predicted that Atleti could take points off Madrid as they could any team in the world.
He went on to say that the players had thought long and hard about what went wrong at Anoeta and what they need to do to prevent a repeat.
“We’re the first to realise what happened. We’ve analysed it and we have to get better,” Fabregas insisted.
“From here, I think the way is up for the team. What’s most important is being self-critical, knowing the aspects in which we’re getting it wrong and what we have to improve.
“We have to get back everything that we had done well in other games, and show that it [the defeat] was simply a bad game.
“In Vigo we played the same way, we won 3-0 and there was praise, and on Saturday we lost and the reaction was a little over the top.
“A balance has to be found. At Barca we are duty-bound to be at 100% and be at our best level. We deserve the criticism.
“Now we have to pick ourselves up and be at our best on Sunday [against Almeria]. And play to the level we’re capable of.”
Fabregas also claimed that he has no preference regarding a 4-3-3 formation or a 4-2-3-1 – only that the team plays with togetherness and a high work ethic.
The former Arsenal midfielder was also asked about the change in mood from beating Manchester City to losing to La Real.
“That’s football – things change from day to day. There’s no memory in football and you have to live for the present,” he replied.
“We weren’t up to the level expected of us at Barca [against La Real] and on Sunday we have another opportunity to show people what we can do.
“We want to be top, we want to finish off the tie [against Manchester City] and we have the Copa del Rey final.
“I believe in these players because of what they’ve done in the past. This team still has plenty more to give.
“In football, you have to be ready to accept criticism of every nature,” Fabregas continued.
“We’ve received a lot of criticism and a lot of praise.
“When we receive criticism we have to accept that and give our all for the team. We still have time. I want to put the message out that we’ve still got to time to achieve big things this season.
“There are no doubts about Martino from the players. It’s going to sound like a cliché, but we’re all right behind him and we’re very pleased with the way he’s dealing with the club.
“He’s still continued doing what he thinks is best for the team even if people have been against his decisions, and I think that shows a lot of character.
“The team and the coaching staff are behind him. When you don’t win, you have to be stronger than ever.”
Fabregas also put to bed rumours the Barca squad had spoken to Lionel Messi and asked the Argentine to contribute more than he has in recent performances.
“Totally false,” Fabregas said.
“If there’s any player that carries the weight of the team on his shoulders, it’s Leo Messi. If more has to be asked of him, then three times as much has to be asked of us.
“He looks very good to me. Leo has been the most consistent player in world football.”