Mascherano hits back at Barcelona critics; says camp is united
Javier Mascherano insists there are no problems in the Barcelona camp and everyone is focused on achieving success this season.
Barca slipped four behind Primera Liga leaders Real Madrid at the weekend after losing to Real Valladolid, while there have been suggestions that Gerardo Martino’s team are not training with their usual intensity and may struggle to win any major silverware this season.
However, Mascherano maintains the hunger is still there and has told Barca’s critics not to write them off just yet.
The Catalan club are through to the final of the Copa del Rey against Real and have a 2-0 lead over Manchester City ahead of the second leg of their UEFA Champions League tie on Wednesday evening.
"We have a 2-0 lead, in our favour," Mascherano told reporters on the eve of the match. "We’re not so bad. This is a nice opportunity to reach the quarter-finals.
"The idea is to win trophies but the obligation is to be competing for them at this stage. If all goes well I think we have 18 games left.
"Let’s weigh things up at the end. Wait until we’re dying before you kill us. Don’t kill us yet; it’s only March!"
The midfielder added: "We have been working in the same direction and if there is a team that focuses on getting a result then it is us.
"We know how things are. I have been in different situations all over the world and things can sometimes get dramatic.
"But you need to know how to co-exist with these problems if you play for a team and club like this.
"What we are most concerned with is to try and play properly and keep doing what we have done for so long. We are only thinking about winning and moving on."
When asked about the mental state of the squad, Mascherano stressed that confidence was still as high as ever.
He said: "The team is fine. It is OK. We are doing fine. We analyse things in a different way to what you (the media) do. We are still in the Copa del Rey and a good position in the Champions League.
"There is still a long way to go in La Liga and we are still positive about winning it.
"Suggestions we are not training properly are not important. I believe in what I do and what I see in the squad.
"At the end of the day I don’t know who said this. It is impossible to know this. We are the ones that are really training hard and working hard.
"We have dignified this football profession. I can look at you in the eyes and say we do things well."