Joan Laporta winning Barcelona’s presidential elections brought a wave of optimism to the club. The old regime was gone and months of crisis were overlooked in favour of hoping for a bright new future.

A La Liga title challenge helped and Ronald Koeman was in charge of a happy ship, with there being renewed hope over big summer signings and renewals for the likes of Lionel Messi.

Football being how it is, reality then came to slap that hope around the face, in the shape of a 2-1 El Clasico defeat to Real Madrid.

That sees Atletico Madrid top La Liga with 67 points, Zinedine Zidane’s men just behind on 66, with Barcelona in third on 65.

All isn’t lost yet, and AS report that’s the message Laporta has been transmitting to his squad. The journey back after the Madrid defeat could have provided a ‘funeral’ atmosphere, explains the Spanish newspaper, but instead there was renewed hope.

Laporta is said to have greeted each player individually and has given them a ‘guarantee’ that he’s convinced Barcelona will still win the league if they are victorious in each match between now and the end of the season.

Whether the arm around the shoulder will work remains to be seen.