Mascherano: Three weeks ago we were at Disney, now it's like the House of Terror

The Argentina international feels the Barcelona players must improve after a patch of poor form has threatened to jeopardise their season, though he laughed off the club's doubters
Javier Mascherano has described the last three weeks at Barcelona as being like '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 team-mates 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 told reporters.

"Three weeks ago this seemed like Disney, 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."

The 28-year-old revealed that the players have been in constant contact with Vilanova since he was taken ill in December, but he reiterated that the most important thing was that the trainer got better and didn't worry about the team.

"Yes we have spoken to him. Since he left he has maintained the relationship with the players. I personally talked to him a week ago.

"He is eager to be with us, but the priority is to try to determine the treatment and to be healed. It's the most important thing."

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 the problems but these situations make you stronger.

"Success, as a player, can trick you.
It makes you feel better and these difficult situations make you stronger."

The San Lorenzo-born player was also asked about Tuesday's Champions League match between Manchester United and Real Madrid, but denied that he would be supporting either team.

"I'm going to watch it because it will be a spectacular match, but as a football fan to enjoy the game. Since they cannot both lose, I have no preferences."