Gerardo Martino spoke to the press on Friday. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ- FCB

Gerardo Martino spoke to the press today about Saturday’s trip to neighbours Espanyol, a game he knows is going to pose plenty of problems. “Espanyol are a very similar side to Atlético Madrid. They generate pressure and make every game difficult” he said. “I expect a complex game. It’ll be tight, with very little space, and that’ll make us uncomfortable.” He is also an admirer of former FCB man Sergio García, who he describes as “an exceptional footballer. He unbalances defences, he can score, he can dribble”.

Own hands

After winning at the Bernabéu and following Real Madrid’s defeat in Seville, Barça’s destiny is back in their own hands. “I’ll only speak about consistency if the league ends well for us” he said. “That is basically what this team needs … But things are back in our own hands. And that’s very important because we are playing Atlético in the last game of the season.”

Pinto’s moment

As for Víctor Valdés’ absence, to be replaced by Pinto, Martino commented that “he is the most upset by all this, because of all that it means and also missing the World Cup. This team has overcome many difficulties and this is another one, but we will come out of it even stronger … I have spoken to Pinto to give him my opinion on tactical matters, and ask whether he’d like to change anything to make sure he feels comfortable. If we do things well, we’ll all do things well. And the same goes when we get things wrong”.

He also spoke about the possibility of losing matches, saying that “you can lose a game simply because the opposition plays better. Or at other times because you don’t perform well enough. The game against Madrid was a turning point in terms of morale and because it has put us back in a position to win the league”.

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