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Pique says Barcelona in decline but is optimistic about future

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Barcelona Gerard Pique has said the club had been declining for some time and welcomed the resignation of president Josep Maria Bartomeu, predicting a brighter future under new leadership and with plenty of young blood in the squad.

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Bartomeu and his board of directors quit the club last week after six years at the helm in order to avoid a vote of no confidence from members, leaving a legacy of plenty of trophies but a steady decline in results and a dire financial situation.

“It was obvious the club was on a downward trend and that every year things were getting a little bit worse than the last,” Pique said after his side scraped a 2-1 win over Dynamo Kyiv in the Champions League on Wednesday.

“We all know the situation the club is in right now, we’re going through a process of change which was badly needed.”

The club are currently in the hands of interim president Carles Tusquets, with elections due to be held within the next three months, but Pique said the instability was no excuse for the team’s inconsistent performances of late.

Although they have a 100% record in the Champions League, the Catalans have made a terrible start to La Liga and have failed to win their last four matches.

“There’s no such thing as a transition year at Barcelona. We don’t have much time to make changes but we need to make them if we are to improve,” he said.

“A new board of directors and president is coming soon and things will change in the next few months.”

Pique also admitted that his side are no longer among the top contenders to win the Champions League after their recent displays in the competition, above all the humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in August.

But he was optimistic about the future of the team, thanks to the emergence of exciting young talents such as Ansu Fati and Pedri.

“It’s normal that people don’t think we are candidates any more after the last few years, but all we can do is keep on working. We have a good team full of good people and we have a lot of talent,” he said.

“We’ve got a lot of new young faces who are bringing plenty of dynamism to the team. I can tell you from experience that the results will come soon. We believe we can still do great things.”

Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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