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Barcelona facing first trophyless season in six years

By Reuters - Apr 17,2014 - Last updated at Apr 17,2014

VALENCIA –– Barcelona’s painful reverse to arch rivals Real Madrid in Wednesday’s King’s Cup final brings to an end a hellish week and leaves them facing their first season without major silverware in six years.

Coach Gerard Martino, in his first term in charge at the Nou Camp, was defiant after the 2-1 defeat at Valencia’s Mestalla Stadium and suggested he intends to see out his contract, which runs to the end of next season.

A week ago, Barca were well placed to repeat their record treble of La Liga, Champions League and King’s Cup from 2008-09 but are now likely to end the campaign with nothing more than the season-opening Spanish Super Cup.

They were dumped out of Europe’s elite club competition by Atletico Madrid last Wednesday and crashed to a shock 1-0 La Liga defeat at Granada on Saturday that left them four points behind leaders Atletico with five games remaining.

“I am in profound pain because of the defeat and for the people who support us,” Martino said at a news conference after Gareth Bale scored a brilliant 85th-minute winner for Real in the latest ‘Clasico’ between the Spanish giants.

“This team has a long way to go and many positive things still to achieve,” added the Argentine.

“I am feeling as I have to feel in these situations when you suffer a defeat like this.”

“I can’t imagine a defeat more painful but my future does not depend on this result.”

Martino’s immediate task is to lift the players, the majority of whom will be heading to the World Cup finals in Brazil starting in June, for the La Liga finale, starting with Sunday’s match at home to fourth-placed Athletic Bilbao.

“It has been a very hard week for us on all fronts but we have to pick ourselves up and keep aspiring to what we have left,” Martino said.

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