Barcelona right-back Daniel Alves believes comparing their current crop to the side that dominated football under Pep Guardiola is unfair.
With former midfielder Guardiola in charge, Barca secured three Liga titles, as well as two Copa del Reys and two UEFA Champions League crowns in a glittering four-year spell.
The 42-year-old departed Camp Nou after surrendering the league to Real Madrid, and is currently topping the Bundesliga with German champions Bayern Munich.
Barca romped to the title under Tito Vilanova last term, but Guardiola’s former assistant was forced to step down in the close-season due to ill health.
Gerardo Martino has since come in, with Barca topping La Liga by goal difference over Atletico Madrid, but pressure has set in after consecutive defeats to Ajax and Athletic Bilbao.
But Alves dismissed that they have declined and pointed to the heightened expectations around the club as cause for complaints.
“Nothing has happened to Barca,” he told El Mundo Deportivo. “What happens is that the requirements get bigger each year.
“We are fine. The problem is that people want to compare us with Pep’s Barca and the six cups (won in 2009) and that cannot be.
“Years pass, people come and go, the philosophy of work changes.
“You cannot start to doubt this squad, which has done the greatest things for the club.
“It seems people are waiting for the slightest thing to take us down, but we are very strong.”
Alves believes Barca’s dominance has resulted in teams attacking them more willingly, as a defeat to the Catalans will not be regarded as a negative result.
“Our rivals now have much less to lose when they play us,” he explained. “If they lose, they do so against the best in the world and that is their excuse.
“On the other hand, if we lose, it is news and it fills all the newspapers.
“And if there are two defeats in a row, we take shots from all sides.”
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