Barcelona’s leading scorer Luis Suarez has applauded his team mates for sticking together during last month’s worrying dip in form with the possible reward of the La Liga title this weekend.
Barca held a nine-point lead over Atletico Madrid and were 10 in front of Real Madrid in April but lost three consecutive league games for the first time in 13 years to head into the last round of games leading the latter by one point.
“Everything happened all at once,” Suarez told ESPN in an interview on Wednesday. “We lost three league games in a row and were knocked out of the Champions League (by Atletico).
Despite taking a 2-1 lead in the first leg of their quarter-final against Atletico, Barca lost 2-0 in Madrid to see their hopes of becoming the first team to retain the trophy end.
Atletico beat Bayern Munich in the semis and face Real in the final in Milan, although their domestic title bid is over.
“It left a really bitter taste in our mouths,” Suarez said. “We had deserved to go through. What had surprised me was that since I arrived, everything had gone so well and we got so accustomed to winning. We had a dip in form but that’s football.
“I wondered what might happen if we started to lose but now I see that the group remained strong and united,” he added.
“We sent messages to each other to remind ourselves to believe in each other and that helped us keep our spirits up. We stayed together as a team and we never lost our confidence.”
Barca, who face Sevilla in the Copa del Rey final on May 22, can clinch a second straight league title, and sixth in eight years, on Saturday at Granada.
“We control our own destiny,” said Suarez. “Winning now depends upon us and we are aware that we are one match away from winning the league, which was our main goal from the beginning of the season.”