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El Tata Martino / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Gerardo Martino is pleased with his team after this evening’s convincing 4-1 victory over Real Sociedad. “I think we played a good match, especially in the first half. I’m satisfied with the team,” said Martino, who added that “we aim to play like this always, but it’s not easy. We also aim to work in other variables like changes of pace and a more vertical approach.”

The manager went on to talk about Barça’s pressing as one of the crucial aspects of the match. “In the second half we pressed less, but we were doing a bit of everything when we were at our best: we pressured up top, when our rivals were trying to play from the back, it was more obvious then.”We aim to play like this always, but it’s not easy

Taking care of Leo Messi

Leo Messi was subbed off with ten minutes left to play on the clock, when asked about his choice to sub off the Argentine, Martino said: “My obligation is to take care of Messi. We need all of the players to be healthy and especially him, he needs to be healthy for the decisive moments of the season. If we have the chance, we will try to give him a bit of rest. Leo wants to play it all.” He then said that Neymar “is an exceptional footballer, his sacrificial attitude for the team is fascinating.”

Pleased with Bartra

Marc Bartra’s debut in the league was also touched on by Martino. “Bartra was serious and he scored a goal. We’re pleased with him and if Mascherano’s injury is confirmed, he will have the chance to play,” said the Argentine manager, who added: “we have a lot of players that can score goals and that is very interesting.”My obligation is to take care of Messi. We need him to be healthy for the decisive moments of the season

Finally, Martino talked about Atlético Madrid, a team he believes is a strong contender for the title. “Atlético Madrid are having a great campaign. Of course there’s a difference between Barça, Madrid and the rest, but I place Atlético with us and Madrid,” said Martino.

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