Martino: It’s a title, a final and we have to win it
Barcelona manager Tata Martino is looking for his team to redeem the qualities shown in the last two Clásico victories, to help them overcome Real Madrid for a third time this season, in the Copa del Rey final on Wednesday night.
At the Tuesday press conference, ahead of Wednesday’s Copa del Rey final against Real Madrid, Barcelona manager Tata Martino first spoke about the condition of Bartra, Piqué and Puyol and their availability to play.
“The three central defenders have responded well and enough that we could count on any of the three of them. We’ll wait until training tomorrow, before we make decisions. If we decide to play with Puyol, he will provide a great deal to the team and for his team-mates. It’s not the ideal situation for us not to have any of the central defenders available, but those that don’t play, won’t restrict our options. Nobody will play unless they’re in the right condition to do so.”
As for how his team will face the clash against Real Madrid at the Mestalla, the Barca coach outlined that they must take the best examples of what they demonstrated in the two Clásico victories in La Liga this season. There was also a note of caution from Martino however, when it comes to the exceedingly high expectations, placed on his team.
“We must redeem moments we’ve shown in the two Clásico games we’ve played. From start to finish, we knew how to get through those games. That’s something we’ll have to recreate in this game. I think Barca are a very transparent team and if we play well, we win. A while back, this team didn’t just play well, they also won. What we’re looking to restore is something we have already seen and with these players. I understand what people ask of this team, but they have to comprehend that you can’t be the best in the world every year. These players have marked the before and after in this sport.”
On the back of two painful defeats, against Atlético Madrid in the Champions League and Granada in La Liga, Martino doesn’t see Wednesday’s game as an opportunity for revenge or to prove themselves, just an opportunity to win silverware.
“I don’t see this as any opportunity for revenge over what happened in La Liga and the Champions League. It’s a title, a final and we have to win it.”
Likewise, Martino pointed out that winning the Copa del Rey, won’t lessen the blow of their Champions League exit.
“I don’t want to cover my back about what we haven’t done, or give it any more importance than it already has. It’s the cup final, though it won’t smother the feeling we have for the two other competitions.”
Having already mentioned that he’s looking for the same sort of spirit, that gained Barca victory against Real Madrid in the two Clásico encounters in La Liga this season, he also pointed out that they weren’t as decisive games as the final on Thursday, which will result in one team or the other lifting a trophy.
“The two we’ve played so far were great. We’re not trying to recreate other eras. Just because we’ve beaten them twice, doesn’t make me any more relaxed. When you win, you celebrate them in a distinct way, as otherwise, they didn’t serve as anything to celebrate, other than three points.”
Amidst suggestions that Messi is below par of late, Martino simply suggested that all the players and coaching staff, must rise to the occasion as a team, not as individuals.
“We must all contribute to the team, to improve. Under no circumstances should be expected to contribute more than that. The stronger we are as a team, the better we are.”
Although Martino already has one trophy under his belt, the Supercopa, he’s looking forward to winning one that bears entirely his own hallmark.
“All I’m thinking about is the possibility of conquering a title with these lads. This is a final in which I’ve participated fully in us getting there. The Supercopa was based on the work of other people. To win, we’ll have to offer the very best footballing version of ourselves.”