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Tata Martino giving a press conference ahead of the trip to Osasuna / FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Gerardo Martino has spoken on Friday ahead of the trip to El Sadar to take on Osasuna this Saturday at 20.00. He was all smiles as he announced that Busquets will start, and that Carles Puyol is “ready to play and if he has to go on for a few minutes, he will”.

Tata spoke about how impressed his has been with his centre back and captain’s attitude and “how excited he is to be back in the team. For somebody who has achieved what he has achieved and won what he has won, it excites me too. His spirit will make up for his lack of matches and being out for six months. It’s as if he was making his first division debut”.

Ignoring records

If Barça win in Pamplona, they will equal Real Madrid’s record of winning their first nine matches in 1968/69. But the FCB boss says that “they are always talking about the number of matches and records and things like that” said Tata, whose thoughts are entirely focused on beating Osasuna. “It doesn’t change the way I have been thinking for the last few weeks. What really matters is where we are at the end of the season, that’s all that goes down in history. Things weren't resolved last week, and neither is this a decisive week. They are all important matches, but things are only just starting.”

What really matters is where we are at the end of the season, that’s all that goes down in history

Having said that his team selection will be based entirely on what he thinks he needs to do against this particular opponent, he continued by observing that “Osasuna have improved in recent games. They have a strong spirit and you always need games like their last one to get back on track. They’re a team that’ll come out to get us and stop the ball from coming out.”

Adriano on form

With Jordi Alba side-lined at least until the next international break, Adriano Correia will continue to play an essential role in the team. “The new Jordi Alba injury was bad luck” says Martino. “Adriano is doing a good job and has had 15 days of rest, so he is in great condition to deal with the number of matches we have ahead. And if we do need to make changes, we have enough options to be able to do that.”

Rests for Piqué, Alves and Alexis

Gerardo Martino explained that “there are no medical reasons for leaving out any of Alexis, Piqué or Alves. It’s just they have been playing a lot in several games and I have decided they should get some rest.” The trio were among the most active and furthest travelling of the Barça players during last week’s international matches.

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