Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola insists that he will not panic despite the Spanish club suffering back-to-back league defeats.
Less than a month ago, Barcelona looked to be coasting to the La Liga title with a healthy 12-point lead over rivals Real Madrid. But on Sunday, they twice squandered the lead to lose 4-3 to Atletico Madrid, a setback coming on in the wake of a shock defeat against relegation-haunted Espanyol and a 1-1 Champions League draw at Lyon.
“We have had a big advantage and Real Madrid have cut it back by eight points in three weeks. But we will continue forward,” said Guardiola whose team’s lead at the top is now just four points.
“We lost a game which was up and down, very exciting and I have to give credit to Atletico but we will now continue as before.
“Atletico play a very direct style of football and it caused problems. It was a game with plenty of chances, typical of an Atletico Madrid versus Barcelona game.”
Thierry Henry, who continued his resurgent form by scoring twice against Atletico, urged his teammates to shrug off last night’s disappointment.
“Nobody likes to lose a game, but it is necessary to forget about tonight’s match and focus straight away on the Copa del Rey and think about winning again in La Liga,” he told reporters.
“Tomorrow is another day. Now, we must concentrate on beating Mallorca in the Copa to advance to the final.”
Henry, like Guardiola, has dismissed the idea that the team are losing steam after a near-flawless run in the first four months of the campaign.
“I do not believe that the problem is because we are tired. The physical training conditions have nothing to do with it. I, personally, am feeling fine,” he added.
Midfielder Xavi has acknowledged that the side are on a downward spiral.
“It’s true that we are on a bad streak at the moment. We have lost a lot of points in the last three games and suffered two defeats in a row, but the team are still feeling well and we will keep working to move forward,” he said.
“It was a very exciting game and we have to praise both teams for that. Atletico has finally managed to beat us but we must keep on working hard. I hope that they can beat Real Madrid too next week.”