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Javier Mascherano spoke on Tuesday about the team’s current situation / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Javier Mascherano has put everything into perspective when discussing the team’s mood after the recent setbacks against Real Madrid and AC Milan. “The best way to lift ourselves is to think about what we’ve got left. We have to think positively. Things aren’t going the way we want them to, and there are things we have to improve. But the only way to improve is by working hard and having a positive, winning mentality”.

In this regard, the Argentinian knows that the team “has to take a step forward … the positive thing is that it’s in our hands and football is always better when you’re not depending on other results going your way”.

Everyone’s responsibility

“Both those of us who are playing and those of us who aren’t have to give a little bit more. That’s the main part of ending this bad run”, said Mascherano. “But we don’t have to go crazy, just to have the serenity and humility to find what we’re missing and from there go back to being the team we were a few weeks ago”.

He also senses a change in football in general in recent weeks. “It is a very dynamic sport. Three weeks ago it looked like Madrid was in flames and now everything is fine, and a few weeks ago this place was Disney and now it’s a horror story … We just have to analyse our game. We haven’t been doing justice to what this team can do and we need to get our game back”.

Missing the manager

Mascherano also spoke of the difficulty of pressing on without Tito Vilanova. “After the initial shock of the news about Tito, you find yourself falling over time. We have been dealing with a lot of things like this and it does start to take its toll. But we have all the tools and arguments to deal with this … We all have to help each other through this unusual situation. A colleague has had a bad time, and he’s the boss, the man in charge. It is him more than anybody that we need here”. He did reveal that he’s been speaking to Vilanova. “He would love to be here with us, but we must remember that the priority is his treatment and getting cured”.

Mascherano also defended Jordi Roura. “He would rather not to have had to go through this situation. He was brave enough to take over and team has nothing but admiration for him and the way he has dealt with it … We are all to blame for this situation, we have started to lose because things aren’t going the way they used to. But that’s football. Sometimes the results just don’t come and it feels like it’s all caving in. But as long as we stay calm, we’ll get through this”.

No doubts

People are even starting to ask whether the Barça system is quite as good as people once said, but Mascherano thinks such claims are going too far. “It is very easy to only analyse the last fortnight rather than the last five years. If anybody doubts the system, this club’s ideas, they should look back at the last five years and that should clear up any doubts”. Indeed, Mascherano is convinced that his team are still going to eventually qualify at the expense of Milan.

Mascherano, a close friend of his compatriot Messi, is also stunned that people are starting to question his team-mate and doesn’t think the fact that he has or hasn’t been scoring goals recently is anything to be read too deeply into. But where he does agree that Barça is faltering of late is in terms of the number of goals they are conceding. “And that’s something we have to work on improving as a group” he concluded.

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