FC Barcelona coach Tata Martino has bemoaned the inconsistency of his team ahead of all important second round tie against Manchester City.
Tata Martino admitted that the problem with his team is its irregularity, and assured that “the only thing that I must do is train my team and try to get them to play better. I don’t feel the need to motivate my players. The other day we had a bad game”.
“We are irregular, the worst thing for the team. But they are alive, they have pride, grit and courage”, he said.
The Barca coach then turned to the second leg of the Champions League round of 16 tie against Manchester City and was adamant that he will not take the game lightly despite their away game advantage.
“Tomorrow I think Manchester City will make changes to the team. Sergio Aguero is very dangerous but they have many other players who are just as worrying.
“We have to think that 10 or 12 days ago, we played a very good match against Manchester City. I don’t see why we can’t do the same tomorrow and I am sure we will play well.
“We have to separate the league from the Champions League and we are at an advantage for tomorrow.”
Barca have reached at least the final four of the competition in their last six attempts, lifting the trophy in 2009 and 2011.
Yet the Catalan giants head into Wednesday’s game off the back of a surprise La Liga defeat to struggling Real Valladolid, which put a major dent in their domestic title ambitions.
Meanwhile, Gerardo Martino has admitted that it is not necessarily a given that the partnership between Lionel Messi and Neymar works out just because they are two great individuals.
The Argentina international and his Brazilian counterpart impressed earlier this campaign, but they have been unable to make much of an impact together recently – partially due to a string of fitness problems.
“Messi and Neymar haven’t played much together this season because of injuries. The times they have played together, they have linked up well, but recently they haven’t had much connection on the pitch,” Martino said at a press conference.
“You can’t guarantee they will always be synchronised just because it’s the best player in the world and the next best player in the world.”
Barca President Backs Tata Martino
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu insists coach Gerardo Martino continues to have the full backing of the club despite Saturday’s shock 1-0 loss at Real Valladolid.
The latest setback increased speculation over the future of the 51-year-old Martino, who replaced Tito Vilanova at the helm of the Spanish champions last summer.
“Martino has a contract with us until June 2015,” Bartomeu told radio station Cadena Ser. “We would like Martino to remain with us next season.
“We hope he will remain with us for a long time.
“He is eager to do things well and win.”