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Fernandez backs Barcelona to emerge from slump

Barcelona technical secretary Robert Fernandez backed the team to overcome their slump in form and maintain a challenge for a Liga and Copa del Rey double.

Luis Enrique's side lost their third successive league fixture at home to Valencia on Sunday, with their nine-point advantage nullified by Atletico Madrid, who sit joint top on 76 points.

Atletico also dumped holders Barca out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage last week, but Fernandez still has full confidence in the players and backed them to flourish under pressure.

"The team was very upset last night, especially because of the way they lost," said Fernandez on Barca TV.

"Professionals are always looking in the mirror and they know they must improve, but no one said it would be easy and everyone is convinced they can win five games.

"We have to be very proud of the team's effort despite Sunday's defeat against Valencia. They have to win and that conditions your play. We are very excited for the home stretch of La Liga.

"People reacted positively [against Valencia] and we really appreciate it, especially in such difficult times.

"I remember when we were down 1-0 to Atletico [in the Champions League quarter-final first-leg, which Barca won 2-1] and the fans were able to help us in a very difficult time.

"It was a blow [to go out of the Champions League] because everyone was very excited, but we have La Liga and the Copa del Rey."