Javier Mascherano has described the last three weeks at Barcelona as ‘visiting the House of Terror’ after the Liga leaders have suffered three defeats in their last four matches.
A 2-0 reverse in the Champions League against AC Milan came just before back-to-back losses to Real Madrid, and the Argentina international has called on his teammates to improve as the season enters its final few weeks.
The former Liverpool midfielder believes the absence of coach Tito Vilanova through illness has contributed, though he also admitted the players must forget about that and find their best form again.
“We should all give more. Our leader is ill, and it is an unusual situation, but we have to help ourselves and restore confidence,” Mascherano said.
“Three weeks ago this seemed like Disneyland, and now it’s like the House of Terror!
“In Madrid, they were down three weeks ago and now it is all happiness.
“We must get back to our best to get good results. When you spend a week or two with bad results, having been knocked out of the Copa del Rey and having lost the (Liga) Clasico, obviously we are not in a good place.
“The best way is thinking up all that we have, to be positive. We have many things to improve and how we are playing,” he added.
The 28-year-old also revealed that the players have been in constant contact with Vilanova since he was taken ill in December.
With one trophy gone and their Champions League hopes hanging in the balance, some have questioned whether the current Barcelona side have what it takes to play at such a high level for a full season, but Mascherano refuted those claims.
He added: “If anyone doubts this club, you must review the data of recent years.
“It is easier to find problems but these situations make you stronger. Success, as a player, can trick you.”