Madrid: Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta said on Thursday that claims that the Spanish giants are coming towards the end of an era following their 4-0 Champions League semi-final first-leg defeat against Bayern Munich are misguided.
"I think it is unjust to talk about the end of an era," he told a press conference in Barcelona.
"This team in the past five years has won two Champions Leagues, been to three more semi-finals, we are about to win a fourth league in five years, we have won Supercups and everything else, it has been a blessed cycle of success.
"That is many years winning and fighting for everything. If you analyse five years in one game against Munich it doesn't make any sense. For me, the end of an era is when years pass and you don't win titles.
"People need to have a lot of respect for this squad, manager and club in general. Evidently we need to improve but this is an evolution that the club has to have. It doesn't make sense to me to talk about the ending of an era."
A 4-0 lead from the first-leg has never been overturned in the Champions League but even if qualifying for the final now seems beyond Barca, Iniesta insisted they still had to try to reclaim their pride in the second-leg at the Camp Nou on Wednesday.
"They (Bayern) are in a very good moment right now and we need to recognise their superiority. Other opponents have recognised it with us.
"It hurts to not have been able to live with the demands that Bayern imposed on us but we need to appeal to our faith a little for the return-leg. If we are going to go out, we need to do it giving everything."
Before they even face the Bundesliga winners, Barcelona could be crowned domestic champions this weekend should results go their way.
A win away at Athletic Bilbao combined with victory for Atletico over Real in the Madrid derby will mathematically seal the title and Iniesta believes the merit in winning the league has been somewhat lost in the furore over the Champions League in recent weeks.
"We need to see what happens on Saturday. This league has been one of the most difficult in recent years for many reasons. For us to have been able to achieve it after losing it last season is a very important step looking forward to next year.
"When you are champions of the league nothing is bad. Starting from there, if other things happen, you are talking about very good or outstanding years.
"The league is the most important but obviously the Champions League is the most prestigious. If we are saying that every year you don't win the Champions League it is a bad year then I think we are making a mistake."