Xavi Pascual in the press conference / PHOTO: ARCHIVE FCB

The coach believes that the start of the Top-16 signals a part of the competition that is “the first key part of the season”.  “A place in the quarterfinals is at stake as well as the chance to hit form in time for the Cup”.

The first hurdle to overcome will be the visit of Anadolu Efes and it won’t be an easy one:  “They’re a team that switched coaches recently and won their first game.  It remains to be seen which opponent turns up but they’ve changed things around and, after qualifying for the Top-16 in the last round, they’re starting from scratch with us”.

According to Pascual, Anadolu Efes “will be dangerous, with plenty of experienced players who will force us to be at our best in order to win”.“We need to show more consistency in our game”Pascual also pinpointed areas that FC Barcelona have to improve: “We need to show more consistency in our game, which at times is really good and then at others we have lapses that really hurt us”.  He illustrated his meaning with examples from last Sunday’s game against Real Madrid: “We had three spells, which don’t add up to more than six minutes in the whole game, in which we conceded two partial scores of 10-0 and 11-1.  The other 34 minutes went in our favour”.

He also stressed the need to minimise losses of the ball and to be more effective against the bigger teams.We have to make a bigger effort to keep the Dracs happy with what we do.On another matter, Xavi Pascual spoke about the ‘Drac’ group of fans: “I’ve been told that it’s all about the lack of engagement between the team and this group.  We have to do better in that aspect.  They’re very important to us and if we don’t know how to show it then we have to improve.  From what I’ve been told they made the effort to go to Madrid to watch us and if we weren’t up to the occasion it was mainly because of the disappointment of the defeat.  We have to make a bigger effort to keep them happy with what we do.  In our defence I should say that they’re a bit further away from us in the Palau than the rest, but we are really sorry”.