Joan Laporta: 'We'll get through this'
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FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta has spoken in exclusive to Barça TV on Friday to discuss the latest matters at the club, including the delicate Champions League situation, the upcoming Clásico, including the special shirts that the players will be wearing, and a number of other topics:
Support at Spotify Camp Nou
"Like all Barça fans, what first comes to mind when I think about the game with Inter is the need to thank all the fans that came to support the team so passionately in the stadium. It was a big game for us and I am sad and angry that we didn't win despite scoring three goals. But I think it's now time for us all to turn the page. There is still La Liga and we have a very good squad of players. We are still building this team, but the goal is to win the league. Reaching the knockout stages of the Champions League is going to be very difficult now, but with the team and support that we have, and with so much hope pinned on them..."
"That was the positive thing. The fans. The atmosphere in the ground. Like on the biggest Champions League nights and against one of Europe's classic teams in Inter Milan. The fans supported the team from start to finish, and that's what I'm taking away from that game."
"It was always going to be a difficult group. We should have got a better result in Munich because we were the better team. And the refereeing in Milan was scandalous. We shouldn't play the victims card, but we were very unhappy with the match officials, and I spoke to UEFA about it afterwards. I couldn't do anything else and there's no going back now. We can just look forward and try to play even better and win the next time."
"Financially, missing out on the latter stages of the Champions League is a big blow, but we won't miss all those 25/35 million. There are ways to make up for that, we will continue to work on new sponsorship and other possibilities, and playing in the Europa League would still bring in money. The net impact will be less than what we'd miss out on for not playing in the Champions League."
"We want to win La Liga, which is the the competition based on consistency. The Champions League was painful, but we need to do the job we have in front of us, and that means concentrating on the league."
"It is a matter of doing our job. We have to win our two remaining Champions League games, but they're not until the 26th, so I'd focus fully on the league for now, where we have three big games coming up. I really didn't expect to be in this situation because the technical secretary and coaching staff had put together a very competitive team, but unfortunately we are in the situation in Europe that we're in now."
Xavi and the players
"We renewed the squad and I am as confident as ever in the coach and players. This team is still under construction and there are adjustments to be made, but I have my full faith in Xavi and his staff, and also with the players. We have a great squad and I'm sure they'll bring us a lot of joy. We have a team to compete against anyone in Europe, that showed against Bayern, where we were the better team but they won thanks to what they did in just five minutes. The team needs fine-tuning, but it is going to make good progress."
"Xavi has shown how well he knows the club and the system we always use here at Barça. He's an excellent person, and a fine coach too, and things will only get better for him and he'll eventually bring us a lot of success. We spoke after the game and he was upset, sad, hurt, but he has a virtue like nobody else. When he's in difficulty, he always sees a positive side immediately. We spoke again today and seemed more upbeat. We'll be travelling together to Madrid tomorrow."
"The project continues. This team is just starting. There are a series of adjustments to be made that will make it even better. We are always discussing ways to improve with the technical and coaching staff, and there's the winter transfer market on the way soon. We have a strong team but there's room for improvements."
El Clásico at the Bernabéu
"We're top of the league and there's a big game on the way at the Bernabéu. It's the kind of game you want to see. We'll go there with our heads held high. We have a team to do things there. I love going to games like these. I especially like going to the Bernabéu... These games are so much fun. I have been lucky enough to be there for some great games, as president I've had a lot of those. This is a great game to regroup and make a point."
"El Clásico is very important, whoever wins get a huge injection of morale and the loser takes a mighty blow. We have a better style of play. I love the way we play and hopefully we'll impose our game on Sunday. We want to win like we did last year, which was great."
"It will also be a chance to see how the team is able to react. We're recovering injured players. It looks like Kounde will be able to travel. I hope the players will defend the Barça shirt with the right spirit, because whenever you get knocked down, you have to pick yourself up again. We want to show how good we are and that we can win the league."
Message for the fans
"Keep believing. We have a very competitive team, with very good players who are going to bring you a lot of joy. Stick behind Xavi, he needs your warmth and confidence. That's what we will give him and we hope the fans do too."
"We'll get through this. We won't ever stop working for what we want. This club has had all kinds of ups and downs over the years, but we have always bounced back. And we can still do that, from every part of the club."
"Spotify has the right by contract to activate its sponsorship three times a year. They are the ones who decide how and when, as long as they respect the club's values. We are grateful to Spotify that from October 17 its website and app will be available in Catalan. They kept their vow. And now having Drake's logo on our shirts instead of Spotify, the logo of one of the world's biggest music artists, that's sure to generate a worldwide impact."
"If the captains are the captains is because of everything they have done for Barça. They have done everything they can to defend our colours. Boos? They were an isolated minority, but I believe that every player should be respected and admired for what they represent and have represented for Barça. I have always had a great relationship with them all, and we have spoken a lot about the different situations that the club has been through."
"Lewandowski has a lot to offer professionally and also for our credibility. He is a natural goalscorer, and is very respectful towards other players and the club. I love his leadership. He has fitted in very well and is already one of the leaders within the squad."
"We'll certainly do something to recognise the greatest player in FC Barcelona history. He is still very much in our memories. I know Barça still means a lot to him. But now he plays for PSG and speaking about him now isn't going to do us any favours. We can only respect him as a person who made history here at Barça".
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