Cut the drama and stick together

Posted by Francesc Tomas

For better or worse, the truth is Barcelona supporters aren't used to seeing their team lose that often. The complete negative overreaction by the Catalan media to greet players on their return from Amsterdam (such as this article highlighting every mistake the team committed in Tuesday's 2-1 loss) shows some Cules are far too quick to forget recent successes as soon as results aren't as glittery as usual.

Sure, I was also disappointed with the overall performance against Ajax, but that doesn't mean that every single detail surrounding the squad must change. The midfield didn't flow as expected, but that doesn't mean Xavi and Andres Iniesta should be benched indefinitely. Carles Puyol wasn't as effective as he would have liked to have been, but urging him to take early retirement is a far too drastic measure to even consider.

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Supporting a team is much more than celebrating with cava whenever prestigious trophies are lifted. Enjoying the good times is obviously an easy task and something anybody can do. It is in moments of need, when positive results that seemed to be part of the club's day-to-day routine just aren't coming as often, that real fans can set themselves apart from the rest.

The past six years, Barcelona supporters have been lucky to witness the most successful period in the club's 114 years. In Lionel Messi, Cules have seen how a humble Argentine boy developed at La Masia became the most influential player in football history, breaking every record under the sun in the process.

Also during the past six years, Catalans have seen the most charismatic manager the club ever had leave voluntarily, with his similar replacement being forced out with cancer a mere 12 months later.

There have also been huge power struggles off the field between the former and current presidents, which are, still today, threatening the foundation of the institution as a whole. Regrettably, such unnecessary disputes keep dividing the club more and more as time goes by, and there doesn't seem to be much anybody can do -- except the two instigators -- to stop such nasty business and poor publicity.

I grew up watching Barcelona struggle in their efforts to knock Real Madrid off the top spot in the domestic league. Celebrating one La Liga win every three or four years was the norm rather than the exception at the time.

Despite that, my Blaugrana roots didn't fade, and I, along with millions of other faithful supporters, got through the tough times feeling proud of the Blaugrana colours even when the team lost embarrassingly -- which happened more often than not.

I am fully aware first-year manager Gerardo Martino wasn't pleased with his players' display at the Amsterdam Arena, and I wouldn't expect any different given their below-par attitude. Having said that, I trust Blaugrana players are aware of their mistakes and have what it takes to turn the situation around.

Defensive pressure was virtually nonexistent. The players didn't give their all and just didn't seem motivated enough. The back line was far from consistent. The attack was far too predictable and lacked dynamism. While I am aware key men such as Messi and Victor Valdes were missing, the truth is that a team of Barcelona's calibre should be capable of overcoming any absences and at least make a determined effort to come out victorious anyway.

Ultimately, Barcelona have lost only one game in their last 29. Making a huge mountain out of a molehill will not help anybody. True, the team is far from perfect right now, but I am confident Martino will do his utmost to implement the necessary changes, take his players forward with him and return the club to its recent winning ways.

Tots Units Fem Forca! -- Together We Are Stronger!

The Quote -- “Those who are outside the club want to be inside, because it is a privilege. Those who are inside, when they leave, want to return. ... There is never calm. The one year there was, we won six trophies. In Madrid, there is social peace. They are all united. Here, there are Rosellistas, Laportistas, Guardiolistas. ... I am with Barca. I don't care who the president is. If the debate continues, it does not help the team. Here in Barca, there are always people throwing out negatives.” -- Gerard Pique

138,000 Cules follow Francesc Tomas at @TomasESPN and Barcablog Facebook for news and opinion notes on Barcelona.


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