Not over for Barca this season

Mustapha "El Loco" Kamaruddin believes that not all is lost for the Catalans this season. All they need is to progress in the Champions League to bounce back from the slump


Is there tension at Nou Camp?

This seems to be the case as Barcelona face difficult times after the torturing back-to-back El Clasico defeats.

The fact that Real have also qualified for the last eight of the Champions League by knocking out Manchester United in a controversial manner has heaped that extra pressure on Barca.

Messi and Co. may soon be dumped from Europe too as they have a tough task of advancing to the quarter-finals after losing 2-0 to AC Milan in the first leg at San Siro.

The Catalans' focus must now be on the Milan mission next week. A failure would be a massive blow for Barca and their confidence.

Their fans are praying for their success as they feel that the team can go far if they can progress in the Champions League.

The fans have suffered so much in the last couple of weeks as they are so used to celebrating in recent years.

The rare unpleasant news for Barca is that there have been reports which said that Argentine wizard Lionel Messi is 'unsettled' over the recent dismal results.

He has not been performing as he should be in the two El Clasicos and the Milan match.

But Messi strongly denies that he is 'unsettled'.

"We are saddened by the recent defeats, but we'll leave this situation," Messi stated in Barca's official website.

"I'm not sad; I do not know who said that.

"We have to give a little more. We know what the problems of those defeats were, but we will keep them in the locker room.

“We know what we have to do to change things.

“[The Milan] game is ideal for reacting and making that change”, he said.

Many will know that Messi, 25, does not like losing and it won't be a surprise if he bounces back against Milan.

But he still needs some kind of help from his teammates to be successful in stunning the confident Rossoneri.

However, it's not just Messi who has been under-performing.

Stalwarts Andres Iniesta, Xavi (now down with an injury), Cesc Fabregas and Pedro are also suffering.

They must raise their game as well.

And the sloppy defending must stop.

There is no point in getting goals but conceding at the other end in a competition where the away goal ruling would determine a winner.

But before the Milan clash, Barca must first find their winning ways by beating Deportivo La Coruna at Nou Camp in the Primera Liga on Saturday.

It will be a major drawback if they don't get all three points to consolidate their position on top of the table.

Things can get complicated if Barca lose this one although they are now 11 points ahead of second-placed Atletico Madrid with 12 more matches to be played.

Third-placed Real are 13 points behind.

Real will play Celta Vigo away while Atletico will entertain Real Sociedad at home on Sunday.

Another setback though, for Barca, is that goalkeeper Victor Valdes has been slapped with a four-match ban for his El Clasico meltdown.

In the incident, Valdes insulted referee Miguel Angel Perez Lasa following the 2-1 Primera Liga defeat at Real last week.

Valdes was incensed that Perez Lasa did not award Barca a late penalty for a Sergio Ramos challenge on Adriano Correia inside the Real box.

He was shown a straight red card after confronting the referee and telling him that he "had no shame".

This means Valdes is due to miss games against Deportivo, Real Mallorca, Rayo Vallecano and Celta Vigo.

Barca have since made an appeal.

Second-choice goalkeeper Pinto is set to take over. He is a capable goalkeeper but at times can be erratic as well.

However, this is no excuse for Barca to lose at home against Deportivo. If they do, things can become tricky in their bid to retain the Primera Liga title.

It will be a waste if they don't win the league title.

Barca know it, and so do their fans.