Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has come out in support of his embattled players, despite their shocking 2-0 home defeat to Hercules on matchday 2 of the new Liga season.
"Teams win and lose games," he told As.com. "Usually one can get 80 points, but when you get 99, people say the opponents aren't as good, and that's just not the case. We are playing at a very high level and at no time have we lowered our performance.
"That doesn't mean that because we lost I need to start worrying. I won't let us collapse, and we'll have to do better. I'm not able to doubt these players."
Guardiola was full of praise for his opponents, and refused to blame external factors for his side's inability to convert possession into goals.
"It was nothing to do with the pitch or the 'FIFA virus', just the fact that Hercules were better," he noted.
"We weren't at our best but we were very good. We just need to ensure that everyone's gelled, and that's not easy. Hopefully this match will help us understand better."
Indeed, David Villa, Javier Mascherano and Adriano are all very much new to the Barcelona set-up, with the latter two coming in for praise from Guardiola for their performances. Any failure on their part was "a tactical issue", he said.