With the final stretch of the season here and sure to be as decisive as ever, FC Barcelona couldn’t be in better shape. Defender Marc Bartra, speaking at a promotional event, took some time to discuss the team’s state as the pivotal final weeks of the season arrive at their doorstep. From a defensive standpoint, there are two key factors to Barça’s performance: physical effort and managing the minutes played.
"We worked very hard from a physical standpoint starting in the pre-season. We also worked on the psychological aspect so everyone was ready to step in at any moment. That’s why we’re in such good shape right now," Bartra said. In addition, the defender pointed out the importance of having everyone gain experience in big games. “That way we’ve been able to rest players, yet keep everyone active.”
Bartra was very happy to get the chance to help the team against Getafe on Tuesday night, noting that, “Scoring six goals is great, but so is not conceding any." Luis Enrique’s squad have been very solid on defence as of late — they’ve now racked up four straight shutouts.
Bartra believes the defence have vastly improved as far as tactics are concerned: “Our lines are much tighter, which keeps us on our toes and gives us a better shot at winning."
He also addressed some other current events surrounding the team:
"The Bayern tie will be very tough. It’s a European match, it’s a semi-final, and anything can happen. They do have some key injuries, but you can never take one of the best teams in Europe for granted."
"The best thing for us is to focus on the next game. That’s what the coach preaches and it’s the best things we can do. We’ve been that way all season and it’s what has brought us here — alive in all three competitions."
"I'm very happy for Vermaelen. He’s gone through some tough times. Now is the first time since he got here that he feels like a player.”
"Obviously I have more competition, but I've always had that at Barça. That’s what made me better and as well as psychologically and athletically stronger. It’s important to adapt so that the competition makes you better and not worse."