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Martino: What’s happening with Neymar isn’t normal

by Tom Conn | Posted on Friday, February 21st, 2014

Barcelona manager, Tata Martino spoke about the recent news that the club would be investigated for tax evasion and how the situation is affecting young Brazilian winger, Neymar, whose transfer is at the heart of the matter.

Tata Martino

In his pre-match press conference ahead of this Saturday’s match against Real Sociedad at Anoeta, Martino spoke about the transfer of Neymar and the subsequent lawsuit against Barcelona for tax evasion.

“Worried about Neymar? If I had to answer in regards to when he will play or how I see him in training, I’d say no, but it’s true that sometimes things go more than skin deep.  Sometimes he may feel a sense of injustice, of surprise.  I’m not with a player 24 hours a day to learn how he feels.  I see him normal, but what’s currently happening around him isn’t normal.

“I’m not talking about [the Neymar case/lawsuits], I’m speaking about abnormality.  It’s not normal for a sporting institution to have a president leave and for all of these other things to follow.  What I mean to say is that it’s an abnormal situation.

“How does talk of tax fraud affect me?  I wouldn’t know how to answer you.  I’m not surprised, nor am I going to disappear.  It’s something I’m used to.  It’s not something I have an opinion about.  I focus on football, which gives us all satisfaction.”

Martino then moved on from legal matters to discuss the partnership between Messi and Neymar, which can finally be seen now that both are fit, at the same time, for the first time all season.

“When they’ve played together, they’ve done well.  I know that there are a lot of expectations about what they can do together, but we need to think about the group.  The most important thing is to keep growing as a group.  There’s always room for improvement.

“We must think about which line-up we’re going to use against our next opponent and how best to approach the game.  There have been games in which we’ve changed up to nine players.  There are players who have played a lot of important games and now have international games coming up.  There won’t be massive changes in the rotation, just enough to keep the tension.  There’s always something you can change.

“I don’t know if people think the team has matured because of the way we’ve improved our game or in the manner in which we’ve determined the results.  When you play with three forwards, it’s more difficult to control the game and increases the inclination to run, because every player likes playing in space.  But when you have balance, you control the game more and have less need to run.”

Martino then spoke about Saturday’s opponent, Real Sociedad, who have dangerous weapons.

“If we want to maintain the lead, it would be unwise to get a poor result in San Sebastian.  We go there with the intention of having a good game and winning.”

Martino concluded by discussing a possible renewal and rumours linking Sevilla’s Fazio and Villarreal’s Musacchio to Barcelona.

“We’ll see.  Right now we need to focus on the matters at hand.  We’re doing very well, we have 21 games left and this is what we’re focused on.  Anyway, there’s no rush.  I haven’t had a single meeting to discuss next season.  That being said, we won’t say anything publically until the end of the season. Not in general or about specific player because I’m focused on what we need to do this season.  I think that all managers are affected by the results.  But for me, neither a win nor loss will affect my decision.

“I haven’t even thought about next season.  Not Argentinean players, South American, European, Asian or Pacific.  Barcelona is a highly competitive team and doesn’t need six months in advance to make their squad.”

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