Andres Iniesta believes Barcelona need to improve if they are to retain their La Liga title.
The Catalan club are currently level with Atletico Madrid at the top of the table, with fierce rivals Real Madrid just three points behind.
And the Camp Nou club’s first league defeat of the campaign – a 1-0 reverse at Athletic Bilbao on Sunday – has prompted Spain international Iniesta to call for an upturn in performances.
“This is a race and you have to stand up and try to be better,” he said. “I am not one iota less confident than two weeks ago.
Johan Cruyff believes that Barcelona‘s shock 2-1 Champions League group-stage defeat at Ajax on Wednesday was due to a lack of intensity from the players, and not tactical meddling by coach Gerardo Martino.
Barca were missing six regular starters, including talisman Lionel Messi, at the Amsterdam Arena, but were still able to start six World Cup winners. They therefore will have felt they should have done better in a game in which they played most of the second half against just 10 men.
Ten-man Ajax held on for a shock 2-1 win over Barcelona on Tuesday to keep alive its hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League.
The young Amsterdam team dominated the first half against a Barcelona side that had already qualified and took a well-deserved 2-0 lead into the break thanks to goals from Thulani Serero and Danny Hoesen.
But Ajax gifted Barcelona a way back into the Group H match almost immediately after the break when Joel Veltman brought down Neymar, earning the central defender a red card and Barcelona a spot kick that Xavi Hernandez calmly converted.
Gerardo Martino says Barcelona cannot use a lengthy injury list as an excuse in Saturday’s Primera Division clash with Granada at the Camp Nou.
Barcelona pair Gerard Pique and Cesc Fabregas have been declared fit for the game, but Xavi Hernandez misses out with his hamstring issue, joining Leo Messi, Victor Valdes, Dani Alves, Christian Tello, Jordi Alba, Jonathon Dos Santos, Isaac Cuenca and Ibrahim Afellay on the sidelines,
Martino told Friday lunchtime’s pre-match news conference at the Camp Nou that the Primera Division pace-setters had a deep squad and he had full faith those who will come in [such as reserve goalkeeper Jose Pinto, but also full Spain internationals such as Fabregas, Pedro Rodriguez and Martin Montoya].
Barcelona‘s injury worries mounted Thursday as the Spanish leader said right back Dani Alves will be sidelined for seven to 10 days.
The Brazil international returned from a pair of national team friendlies nursing an injury to his right leg.
Barcelona is already without forward Lionel Messi, goalkeeper Victor Valdes and left back Jordi Alba because of injuries. Midfielders Xavi Hernandez and Cesc Fabregas are also questionable for Saturday’s game against Granada.
Barcelona leads Atletico Madrid in the standings by three points, with Real Madrid six points behind its biggest rival.
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Whoscored.com have analysed the stats of Barcelona defender Marc Bartra from the 2013/14 La Liga season
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Barcelona have replaced their director of communications in an apparent attempt to improve the public perception of president Sandro Rosell.
The ousted Xavier Martin had been in the job since December 2011, but rumours about his future had circulated after TV cameras caught him and Rosell arguing loudly and publicly in the stands during Barca‘s Champions League game at Milan in October.
Barca;s new director of communications is Albert Montagut, whose impressive CV includes spells with El Pais, El Periodico and El Mundo.
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Barca Set For PR Campaign To Improve Rosell’s Image
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Xavi Hernandez is a doubt for Barcelona’s La Liga clash with Granada on Saturday, after tests on Tuesday revealed a hamstring strain.
Xavi did not travel with Spain for this week’s international friendlies in Equatorial Guinea and South Africa, although he said himself this was just a matter of needing a rest rather than a serious fitness issue.
However the Catalan midfielder now appears to have picked up a muscle problem while training with his club this week, according to a club statement released on Tuesday.
Lionel Messi says people should stop “inventing strange reasons” behind his run of injuries, as he is just going through a spell of bad luck at the moment.
Since it was confirmed that Messi would not play again in 2013 due to his fifth muscle injury in six months, media reports in Catalonia, Spain, Argentina and elsewhere have centred on potential reasons for the continuing issues, particularly recent changes in Barcelona’s medical department which had reportedly left the player feeling he was not getting the right attention and asking for an expert from the Argentina FA to oversee his recovery this time around.
Gerard Pique has hit out at internal feuding among different Barcelona camps — especially the negative voices who “throw s—” at the club.
The Barca ‘family’ is currently split between supporters of current club president Sandro Rosell and those who favour his predecessor Joan Laporta, with the two men and their associates regularly sniping at each other in public.
Issues at the Camp Nou such as the team’s philosophy or style of play, the legacy of former stars Johan Cruyff or Pep Guardiola, and even the current best way to manage of Lionel Messi’s injury problems are often viewed differently depending on the point of view of the Barca executive, fan, former player or pundit involved.
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Gerard Pique hits out at negativity surrounding Barca
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