Luis Enrique insists “no team have been better than Barcelona as of today” ahead of Sunday’s match against Valencia in La Liga.
An awful run of form since their defeat to Real Madrid in the Clasico on April 2 has seen Barca’s lead in the League provisionally cut to just a single point, while the Catalans were eliminated from the Champions League by title rivals Atletico Madrid, but Enrique insists his side “will grow, not sink in the face of adversity”.
“We always need the fans, especially when there are difficulties,” the Coach said at a Press conference.
“The fans are very smart, and I know they wouldn’t forgive us for a lack of attitude and ambition.
“We’ll win or lose, but we won’t be accused for lack of attitude. I haven’t seen [the latter] in my players.
“It’s time to give everything. We can’t waste this opportunity to improve, but I’m optimistic, despite everything around us.
“We have to forget [the Champions League] and focus on winning the other two. We consider it a major challenge.
“[On the reasons for Barca’s slump], I’m sorry, but that’s all in the past for me.
“There are plenty of factors that affect a team, win or lose. We accepted the [CL] elimination with the highest integrity.
“It’s rather risky to draw conclusions when we still have six [League] games and a Copa [del Rey] final to play.
“The team have recovered very well. Obviously the disappointment is hard to take, but we know that it’s normal [to lose sometimes].
“We’re presented with another very difficult challenge because there are very few teams in the history of Spanish football who have won League and Cup in successive seasons.
“The team are still fresh. It seems like everything is more difficult because of the dynamics, but I have the habit of sticking my chest out a little [during tough times], and I’ve done it many times before.
“We’re fresher than last year, but that doesn’t stop us from playing badly and missing out on trophies. Barca aren’t the only team to play. Others can still beat us.
“I know this wonderful club well and what it means to be the Coach of Barca.
“I suffered enough during the year of the treble and I accept [this suffering] with fortitude.
“I won’t sink [in the face of adversity], I grow. This is how I understand the sport.
“We’re talking about a very long season. We haven’t ducked out, we’ve always said that we’re favourites in all competitions.
“As of today, no team have been better than Barca. I wouldn’t change our situation in the League and cup for anyone else’s. I’m optimistic, despite what surrounds us.
“[On Valencia], we’ve compiled reports on the two games since [Pako] Ayestaran has been in office, against Las Palmas and Sevilla.
“They’ve changed things, but their base remains the same. It’s an opportunity for us to reverse this situation, reunite with victory and remain leaders.
“[On MSN’s struggles], it’s very unfair to single them out. I didn’t expect anything less from some of you [referring to the Press’ pessimism]…”