Radomir Antic, who succeeded Louis van Gaal as Barcelona coach on Friday, is confident he can lift the teamout of its current malaise, despite losing his first match in charge.
“This job is a great personal challenge for me,” Antic told reporters at a news conference at the Nou Camp on Sunday.
“I feel privileged to be sitting here occupying a post as important as Barcelona coach.
“I am, however, certainly not intimidated by the job and I promise that I will do everything in my power to help the club out of its present crisis.”
The scale of the task facing Antic became evident on S Saturday when Barcelona lost 3-0 to his former club Atletico Madrid. It was Barcelona’s third successive league defeat and saw them drop closer to the relegation zone.
However, rather than dwell on the club’s dismal recent form, Antic preferred to accentuate the positive.
“I am committed to positive, bright football,” the Yugoslav added.
“I know that football is very much a psychological game and my first aim will be to raise the spirits of the players.
“With the aid and respect of everyone I am sure that very soon we will be happy with the form of the team.
“I will bring enthusiasm and dedication to the job and I am convinced that if everyone involved at the club has faith in me and the players we will help Barcelona return to its rightful place in the Spanish league.”
Unsurprisingly, given their dire domestic form this season, Antic highlighted the Champions League – in which they are unbeaten – as a major priority for the season.
“A club like Barcelona is obliged to win everything, and this season that includes the European Cup,” he said.
Meanwhile, Barcelona president Joan Gaspart was enthusiastic about the appointment of Antic.
“I am convinced that Antic is the best option for Barcelona,” he said.
“He brings us hope and has shown the confidence in the club that we have been lacking recently. I know that with hisarrival we will soon see an improvement in the situation of the team.”
Antic will stay in chatthe until the end of the seasson, after which his position will ve reviewed. One worrying omen for Gaspart concerns the Yugoslav’s recent record in Spain.
He was unable to prevent Atletico being relegated in 2000 and suffered a similar fate when he managed Real Oviedo in 2001.