After crashing out of the Copa del Rey against Real Madrid, one of the team captains, Andrés Iniesta, faced the press today to explain what the team has made of it all. He was sincere and self-critical, but most importantly, he remains optimistic. “It was a very tough defeat because we were playing at home” he lamented. “They beat us and we’re frustrated not to have won and to be missing out on the final. These things need to serve for there be a reaction and for us to learn that nothing is easy and that we can lose”.

Learning from mistakes

Iniesta was willing to accept that “Madrid are fair finalists” while Barça “lacked finesse and freshness … In two isolated games against top class teams, the team has not played well as a unit. When the team performs it’s because things are generally working. When certain things go wrong, we suffer … It’s not that the team has let go or doesn’t want to win. In some situations the opposition simply have you beat. But there are still some big games left and we’re optimistic about them”.

Having had some time to digest last night’s result, Iniesta is convinced that the FCB squad needs to have a long, hard look at what went wrong in the defeats to Madrid and Milan. “We have to think about what we didn’t do right and what we have to improve” he said. “We have to regain that sensation of being a compact and infallible team. And I’m convinced that we can get that mood back”.

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No panic

Andrés Iniesta sees no reason to over-dramatise the situation. “The team has been having some very good years and deserves not to have to suffer for going out in the cup semi finals against a magnificent side like Madrid. And let’s not forget that we’re the league leaders and on Saturday we can expect another tough battle at the Bernabéu. We have to make sure we hold onto our lead”.

Utmost confidence

The midfielder is also as optimistic as ever about the team’s chances of winning the other big title still at stake, the Champions League. And that’s despite the tough challenge of making up a two-goal deficit against Milan: “The game on the 12th is in a very important competition” he said. “We have to go out from the first minute treating it like a final and playing like our lives depend on it … It’ll be a very difficult game. The scoreline is very much against us, but right now I’d still put my hand on the fire and say we’ll win … It’s a question of pride, need and reality. We are quite capable of turning the game around”.

Thoughts for Vilanova

Andrés Iniesta also mentioned the absence of team manager Tito Vilanova, a man the players are all very much missing at the moment. “It’s only logical. It isn’t easy without the figure of a head coach. It’s been a long time and it’s just one of the many difficulties we have had to deal with this season. But we shouldn’t say he has to come back right now just because we lost yesterday. His health is what matters most and we trust that he’ll be back soon”.

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