Cesc Fàbregas gave a press conference today at which the hottest topics were Tuesday’s defeat in Amsterdam and Sunday’s trip to San Mamés. He spoke frankly, and was willing to accept that many aspects of Barça’s performance against Ajax were unacceptable. The team now has the chance to prove that that was just a one-off and, as Cesc himself insisted, there is no need to over-dramatize things. That chance is on Sunday against Athletic Bilbao, where Cesc expects “the team to give it one hundred per cent and respond brilliantly … We have to demonstrate our ability to win matches and our mental capacity to react to defeats. We are a competitive team, and we know that these things can happen, but what happens next depends entirely on us”.
The players have been thinking long and hard about what wrong at the Amsterdam Arena. Cesc says “we have always been self-critical. That was our first defeat in twenty-one games, and now we have work out what we got wrong and where we need to make improvements.” He accepted that there was much more intensity to Ajax’s game, but insisted that Barça didn’t lose because they weren’t bothered enough about the game. “It had nothing to do with a lack of attitude” he said. “We were running hard, but not running right.” But at the end of the day, “this team doesn’t deserve such criticism. There can be no doubting its competitiveness and hunger, and we have always shown that”.
Cesc Fàbregas insisted that people seem to be over-reacting to the situation. “We lost a game, we didn’t play well and now we have to improve things.” It’s as simple as that. “And if we were going to have to lose a game, then that was a good time to do it.” He claimed that they had been stunned to see Ajax playing the same way that Barça have done in recent years, and discovered just how hard it is to get a rhythm going against a side that plays like that. But it was all part of the learning curve, and on Sunday at San Mamés, Cesc has vowed that Barça will be playing “with the utmost intensity and ambition.”