(CNN) -- Smarting from their first back-to-back defeats in nearly three years, Barcelona are on the defensive for a change as they approach Tuesday's Champions League semifinal second leg against Chelsea.
Barcelona all but surrendered the Spanish league title with Saturday's 2-1 home loss to Real Madrid that came days after a 1-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge in the first leg.
Barca defender Gerard Pique strongly rejected any suggestion that his club might be in the midst of a more deep-seated crisis, and that the losses could signal the beginning of the end of a glittering era.
"A team that has won 13 trophies in three and a half years deserves more credit than that," he said. "Other teams need to win more championships before we start talking like that. We deserve respect."
Coach Pep Guardiola was equally bullish in his news conference before the match, even swearing as he defended his decision to play the inexperienced Cristian Tello against Madrid.
Guardiola has seen his side dominate possession against both Chelsea and Madrid yet struggle to find a way to goal, with Lionel Messi failing to add to his 63 goals for the season.
"I don't know if this is the most important moment of my career as a coach," Guardiola said of the Chelsea game. "But I have always faced these challenges with a lot of optimism as I believe in my players and team."
Madrid now lead the Spanish league by seven points with four games remaining, with midfielder Xavi conceding that a fourth straight title "is practically impossible."
But Barcelona could still end the season as winners of the Champions League and Copa del Rey. The Catalans have already won the Club World Cup, the European Supercup and the Spanish Supercup.
"We'll keep fighting, because we know that it's still in our own hands to have a good season," Xavi said on Barcelona's official website.
Chelsea haven't lost in six meetings with Barcelona and won the home leg thanks to a determined defensive display and a Didier Drogba goal just before half time.
Guardiola has the option of restoring Pique to his starting lineup to combat Drogba's strength, having sprung a surprise by leaving the Spain international out of both the first leg and the game against Madrid.
Pique said he isn't taking it personally.
"For me, the important issue isn't whether I play tomorrow," he said. "For me, the main thing is that we win and reach the final.
"It is a new situation for me because I'm used to playing and in the last matches I have not had a chance to play. But it's a technical decision of the manager and I have to respect that."
Barcelona go into Tuesday's match having won their last 15 home matches in the Champions League. Chelsea, meanwhile, have only won once on the road in Europe this season.
But Chelsea have found a unity under interim coach Roberto di Matteo that seemed to be lacking under previous manager Andre Villas Boas, and they are unbeaten in 13 of 14 matches since the Italian took charge.
"His message is clearly aimed at team spirit -- fighting," Chelsea striker Fernando Torres told the UEFA website. "You have to fight and then your talent will come through afterwards. When all of that comes together, you'll overcome your opponent most of the time."
That was never more evident than in Chelsea's first leg performance. Barcelona had 72% of the possession and six shots on target. Chelsea had one -- Drogba's goal.
"Many teams who play Barcelona think that you have to steal the ball from them, but I don't think that's possible," Torres said. "You have to use different weapons against them. If you want to steal the ball, you won't manage it and you'll get tired, and then create more space for your opponent."
Barcelona's last Champions League exit in 2010 came in the semifinal at the hands of Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan side, which won the first leg 3-1 before producing an ultra-defensive display at the Camp Nou to win 3-2 on aggregate.
But Di Matteo said he won't send his side out to play for a goalless draw.
"The tie is half time, it's 50-50. Both teams still have the same chance to go through," he said. "I do think we will have to try to score."