Martino: There’s a chance for us to redeem ourselves
Barcelona manager Tata Martino took to his pre-match press conference ahead of the Copa del Rey semi-final first-leg against Real Sociedad, with many questions about the weekend defeat against Valencia and how his team expect to recover from that.
Responding to questions about his thoughts about the defeat at home against Valencia at the weekend, at his press call on Tuesday, Barcelona manager Tata Martino acknowledged that there had been issues, but assured that things are always discussed thoroughly with the players, when it comes to analysing performances.
“We always talk with the players, most of all when there’s a game as strange as the other day. When you can take a considerable advantage, you have to take it. Also, we’ve also spoken of specific errors and tactical matters. The team didn’t take anything good from the game on Saturday. Offensively and defensively in the second half, we did the exact opposite of the first half.”
Martino also sees the Copa del Rey encounter as a swift opportunity for his team to bounce back to winning ways.
“Always when there’s been a defeat, there’s a chance for us to redeem ourselves. It’s not just a matter of showing a good image after what happened against Valencia, these ninety minutes are important ahead of going to San Sebastián.”
Asked if he was concerned about a lack of concentration from his players, which lead to the Valencia win, the Argentine coach seemed to bear the burden of responsibility and suggested that there had been tactical doubts.
“I think that when an opponent starts to grow in a game because of your own mistakes, then there are doubts. The confusion began because of doubts that originated tactically.”
When it comes to the chances of Barcelona regaining their La Liga title, Martino was then asked if he had any doubts they could at this stage.
“If I can’t back Barca for that, who will? Why wouldn’t I back Barca for the sake of 45 bad minutes? Even an full analysis of the game against Valencia wouldn’t change that. If I ruled out the possibility of us winning La Liga, it would appear I was pressured.”
Following on from that response, Martino assured that he doesn’t feel any excess of pressure on his position.
“From the day I arrived at Barcelona, right up to today, it doesn’t affect me. The pressure every day is the same and right until my time at Barcelona ends, it will remain the same way.”
Looking ahead to Wednesday’s first-leg against Real Sociedad, Martino was mindful of defensive lapses at the weekend and underlined that his team mustn’t concede goals, if they’re to be in a favourable position for the return leg at Anoeta.
“I believe that playing at home and keeping a clean sheet will give us a better chance. Away goals can be crucial, but even more so after what happened the other day.”
Martino observed that Real Sociedad set themselves out a little differently from their normal formations, but believes that his team will control their own destiny, when it comes to making progress to the final.
“We’ve already played them in the first half of the season and stood up well. Last weekend they practically played without a striker, which is what they normally do, but this game will depend on what we do.”
As for who will play, Martino has a large squad prepared, but hasn’t yet decided the starting eleven.
“The squad of 22 is because of the importance of the match and we have still not decided the team that will play tomorrow.”
Following the low attendance against Levante in the last round of the Copa del Rey at Camp Nou, the Barcelona manager urged fans to come to Wednesday night’s game, but was also appreciative that a 10pm kick-off is hardly the best of times for a football match.
“I hope that plenty of fans come, I always hope they’re here to support us, but I also appreciate that when you’re playing games at 10pm at night, it’s not always possible.”