Sergi: "A lot of coaches would love to be in my position"
Barça's coach is keeping positive and asks his players and fans to be strong but admitted, "there's not many smiles in the dressing room at the moment".
Sergi Barjuan faced the media ahead of Barcelona's next test, tomorrow's Champions League meeting with Dynamo Kiev. The coach, who has been in the job for less than a week, has yet to taste his first victory. But his team need a result in Kiev to keep their hopes of remaining in the tournament alive - Barça are third in Group E behind Bayern Munich and Benfica. In spite of the situation, Sergi says the last thing he and his players should do now is allow the pressure to get to them.
How are you feeling?
It's a great honour for me to oversee a Champions League game. I stand by everything I said after Saturday's game. These players are used to playing in all kinds of circumstances and levels of pressure. We have asked them to for concentration and to be well organised and hopefully that will be reflected out on the pitch.
There are a few new additions in the squad list, could any of them start tomorrow?
That says a lot about the unity that there is among the players. All of the players in the list have a chance to play and they will build up rhythm by playing. It is a very important game and the 11 players who start must give their very best physically, emotionally and mentally.
Is this a game Barcelona urgently need to win?
Barça are always obliged to win - whatever the circumstances and wherever the team is. The only way for us to gain respect is by winning. Tomorrow's game is the perfect stage for us to make a statement. That would bring some happiness and change the fans' perception a little.
Does it feel like a final?
We have only had a few training sessions. The players are training the same as before. The only thing I ask of them is that they are well organised and play intense football. They have talent and we have to get that out of them during the game. All of us know how important this game is. But we can't allow anxiety to creep in. With calm we can pass the ball around and find spaces - that's the Barça we want to see.
How are you after just a few days in the job, how have the players taken to you? How is Kun Agüero?
I feel very proud to be here and represent the club at this moment. We Culés need to be strong, now's not the time to show weakness. I believe that the team i very capable. I spoke to Kun yesterday via Whatsapp, he's holed up in his hospital room but he's relaxed.
Do you think Coutinho can return to his best?
That's what I hope to do. I've spoken to all of the players, including him. I was whistled at Camp Nou, when I was playing for the home team. I have told him to keep his game simple and when he has the chance to do something special, to do it. The simpler he keeps it, the easier it will be for him to find the strength he had when he was at Liverpool.
Is this the worst deal you've ever been given in football?
I'm sure if you asked a thousand coaches they would tell you that they would love to be in my position. I-m going to try to to get us out of this fix in the best way I can with the experience I-ve built up.