Gerard Pique is one of the best defenders at Barcelona and he has totally transformed himself since he returned to the Catalan team in 2008.
He has admitted that he, and maybe several other Barcelona players, may have started to believe a little bit of the hype surrounding the side, with many describing the current Barcelona teams as one of the best in history.
However, AC Milan put on a perfect demonstration of how to beat Barcelona earlier in the week, which has caused Pique to question the previously unquestioned quality of the side.
“Referees can make mistakes sometimes but there are no excuses, not the referee, not the pitch, nothing (speaking after the Milan defeat) - We have to improve, learn and wait for the return leg – maybe we're not as good as everyone said,” he told Marca.
So does he have a point or is he just trying to take some heat out of the situation in case Barcelona don’t overturn the two goal advantage which Milan hold?
Well in some ways the Barca side can improve. Milan showed how to effectively contain Barcelona in a similar way to how Chelsea played on their way to the Champions League title last season.
Some members of the side have maybe got so used to being able to pass through the middle of a team, that when it becomes impossible and new ideas are needed, Barca can look a little panicked and short of answers.
If it is just a subtle attempt to counter for the fact that Barca may not get past Milan in the second leg, then it’s a very savvy bit of PR by the centre back who is just trying to take the pressure away from his teammates.
Barcelona were still majestic against Milan in terms of the way they dominated the ball and retained possession but they are now being challenged more and more, by teams that are finding ways to play against them.
One of the overlying qualities of this side is how they have reinvented themselves time and time again whenever a challenge has come up.
It’s unfortunate that Tito Vilanova is not expected to return to his role as manager full time until April because it makes his ideas over how to counter the latest challenges, all the more difficult to implement.
What do you make of Pique’s comments?
image: © seriouslysilly