While Barcelona is on a roll, snagging a quarterfinals slot in the Champions League and being on the top of the La Liga table, midfielder Javier Mascherano revealed that this was not always the case, citing internal issues that nearly brought the team down during the early stages.
“Things weren’t so good behind the scenes,” Mascherano divulged in an interview. The team seemed to have doubts.
He also noted how the opening loss to Real Sociedad has greatly affected the team’s morale. “We started the year with difficulties, with the defeat at Anoeta, which left us four points behind Real Madrid.” Mascherano added that conflict between forward Lionel messi and coach luis Enrique contributed to the uneasiness the team felt during the early stages.
“But this situation has now disappeared,” Mascherano mused, noting the effort that they have to do to sort out the issues and get back on track in their campaign. “This is the situation we live in. The demands at Barcelona are massive and it’s not easy to meet them.”
When asked about their prospect of winning the La Liga tournament, Mascherano was quick to assert that Real Madrid is still a major contender for the title. “Now we’re four points ahead of Real Madrid but this could always be turned on its head,” he stressed. “The best thing is to always focus on the next game.”
“We’re aware that we didn’t beat Real Madrid with our best football. Barcelona always like to win and especially to be better in a footballing sense, over and above the result.”
The Spanish midfielder also noted how tough each game has been for them. “Clasicos are difficult games, against opponents that push you to the limit, that are as good as our team. You need to try your hardest for every minute of the game and that’s what helped us to win. That’s why we got the result we did.”