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Martino: Messi looks 100% to me

by Heath Chesters | Posted on Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Barcelona manager Tata Martino was satisfied with the victory against Real Sociedad in the semi-final first-leg, but not overly so with the performance, whilst remaining cautious ahead of the second-leg, insisting there’s still work to be done, before his team can reach the final of the Copa del Rey.

Tata MartinoA 2-0 victory for Barcelona against Real Sociedad gives them a foot in the door towards a place in the final of the Copa del Rey, but manager Tata Martino wasn’t entirely convinced with the  performance of his team.

“When I thought we were going to find spaces, we lacked the speed to string together consecutive attacks. I thought that the team played fluidly, aside from at the start. We’ve shot more from middle distances, we’ve finished off moves more from the flanks than at other times. We’ve produced two goals, more from the circumstances of the game, than anything else. I think we were still concerned about what happened against Valencia, but we haven’t made mistakes that we normally do.”

Asked about the performance of Pinto in goal and if he should be offered a new contract, Martino gave the veteran keeper his backing.

“Every year he’s given his responses as to why he should remain at the club.”

Another low attendance for a late night game, which when asked if that justifies his words beforehand, Martino reiterated that it’s hard for fans to attend late night games, if they have to work the following day.

“It doesn’t justify anything, all I said is that if I was a Barca follower and if I had to work the following day, I probably wouldn’t be able to come. If that’s the sole reason for people not coming, then the truth is, I don’t know. For so long as I’ve been involved in football, the only way a team calls fans back to the stadium, is by playing well.”

Martino also spoke about the form of Lionel Messi, making it clear that he doesn’t base his own evaluations of the player, on the number of goals he scores.

“Messi looks 100% to me. I must clarify though, that my analysis is never based on whether he scores goals or not. For me, he’s important enough to have sufficient impact on the play of Barcelona. Today he had chances, which means that at any time he will be back scoring goals.”

With the 2-0 advantage, Barcelona seem set for a place in the final, but Martino urged caution, simply because the tie isn’t over yet and Anoeta has often been a difficult venue.

“I’m very cautious about placing myself somewhere I haven’t reached yet. We have to go to San Sebastián first, there’s another ninety minutes and we must keep working hard, because for a number of years now, Barcelona have suffered there.”

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