Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez feels his players have been affected by the negative press surrounding the team in recent weeks.
The Catalans managed a 2-1 win over Alaves on Sunday in La Liga but had to come from behind after a really poor first half.
Barca’s performance follows on from defeats to Shakhtar and Real Madrid and a late win against Real Sociedad after another uninspiring 90 minutes.
Xavi said afterwards he has no doubts that the players have been affected by what is being written about them in the press.
“I have zero doubts that the criticism from the press is affecting the team. It happened to me as a player and I can see it now,” he told reporters.
“There’s a massive wave of negativity around the team that is harming us. The criticism does not affect me, it affects the players. I can see it in their faces.
“Above all it affects the younger ones. You see Inigo, Lewandowski, Cancelo, Gündogan and it doesn’t affect them. But there are a lot of young people and we have to protect them.”
Barcelona players should get a bit of respite now due to the international break. A host of players will head off to link up with their national teams before returning to action with Barca against Rayo on November 25.