Cesc Fabregas is the latest Barcelona player to come forward to defend coach Gerardo Martino in the wake of last weekend’s shock 3-1 La Liga defeat at Real Sociedad.
Martino’s tactics and team selection for that game have been heavily criticised in the Catalan media, with some reports even suggesting Barca had already drawn up a shortlist of managers to replace the Argentine at the Camp Nou next season.
Fabregas -- following the line set by his teammates Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta earlier in the week -- told AS that he was fully behind Martino and the current Barca coaching regime, while admitting that some internal debate had taken place to try and fix the issues which had arisen.
“Among the players there are no doubts about Martino,” Fabregas said. “He found himself in a difficult situation when he came here. He had a squad already made. It is natural that we would give him our opinion.
"He is humble and he would know if he has made a mistake or not. He has done what he thought right, although people were against him. That shows personality and I have been surprised by him. We are with him and the technical staff. When you do not win you have to be even more united than ever.”
Following the defeat at Anoeta some pundits used footage of Blaugrana talisman Lionel Messi strolling around the pitch to suggest he was upset about something at the club. Fabregas dismissed such amateur psychology as nonsense, saying Messi was the Barca player who usually did the most to pull his side along through games.
“If there is a player who pulls the others along it is Leo Messi, in every game,” he said. “And if something is being asked from him, they should ask us for three times as much. What was said against Leo was totally false. He looks very good to me.
"Leo has been the most consistent player in world football. When you need him, he is there, and I do not doubt he will be again. His mood is good, he is happy. There are two-and-a-half months left and we must be all together 100 percent.”
Jordi Alba has also backed his boss, pointing out that nobody was complaining just last week when Barca had won 2-0 in the Champions League at Manchester City.
The left-back, who missed the game against Real Sociedad through injury but is available again for Sunday’s home clash with Almeria, told Marca that such ‘unobjective’ criticism from critics with anti-Barca agendas was ignored by the Blaugrana dressing room.
“After the win against ‘el City’ he was being talked about marvellously,” Alba said. “The criticism is not objective, because opinions change in three days. The team is relaxed, such criticism does not bother us. There are people outside who want to do us damage. We must be united, those who are real ‘cules’ and not pay any attention to what is happening outside."