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Javier Mascherano likes to say things as they are, and speaking to the ‘El Marcador’ show on Barça TV he was as straight-talking as ever in his analysis of the Milan match. “More than the result, and the happiness for qualifying, we’ve gone back to our origins, and that’s what we should feel the most pleased about. Let’s hope there are no more setbacks. We have to make sure we stay on this track, regardless of results … We have done things the same way all along, but that series of bad results affected our confidence. The team just wasn’t playing the same way. This Tuesday the fans have gone home knowing that the team was recognisable.”

As for the game “scoring after just five minutes gave us the chance to play more calmly and was not good for Milan because they knew there was a long match aheadWe created so much pressure. For each Milan player, there were three for Barça. It’s infectious. If the player beside you creates pressure, then you do too”.

Self-critical

Mascherano explained that he asked to be substituted because he was getting cramp, and with the game on a knife-edge, he wanted the team to be at full strength. He also added a surprising comment considering he had been one of the best players on the field last night. “I’m not going home satisfied” he said. “One move can change the course of the whole season and their chance came from a mistake by me. You can’t afford errors like that in a team like Barça. We could have ended up out of the Champions League”.

Neither tragedy nor paradise

He also prefers to put things in context rather than get lost in a cloud of euphoria. “What we have achieved in the last five years is crazy … It is easier to analyse what’s happened over the last fortnight, but there are so many more things to analyse. This team is still competitive, and that’s what we should be appreciating. We shouldn’t turn one defeat into a tragedy. Real Madrid denied us one final opportunity. They have a great team, with some great players … And neither have we suddenly entered paradise. We have passed this test, but there are still eight great teams left in the Champions league. We have to carry on like that. This club can’t let its arms down”.

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