Gerardo Martino, en la roda premsa prèvia al Clàssic. FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s big game, coach Gerardo Martino admitted: “the game creates great excitement in me and determination to do things right and win the game”. According to Martino: “in order to have any chance of winning, Barça have to play well”, whilst insisting: “we must avoid losing possession in our build up”, if they are to stop Madrid’s lethal counter attacks..We have to finish moves off and if we do lose possession, get back properly

Martino continued: “ we have to finish moves off and if we do lose possession, get back properly” and whilst admitting Madrid’s potent attacking options, he’s expecting to see an adventurous Barça too: “if there are spaces for forwards like Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo or Di María, risks will grow, but we cannot not play like Barça”.

No drop in level

Barça go into the game as league leaders and on a good run and the two recent draws in Pamplona and Milan haven’t affected Martino’s views on his side: “I think we are good  - we haven’t won our last two games, but I don’t think that our level of play has dropped at all. We had chances to win them both and I hope we will play the same way tomorrow, but with a bit more bite up front”. Martino also revealed: “I had the team clear in my mind before the Milan game” and that Gerard Piqué, who had been a doubt, “is with us and could play”.This game is about more than just the three points and could have more of a psychological effect
Martino refused to be drawn into any discussion about some of the controversy that has surrounded recent Clasicos: “I’m just interested in Barça playing a good game. I simply want to concentrate on the purely footballing aspects”, whilst admitting: “this game is about more than just the three points and could have more of a psychological effect – there’s plenty of time for both teams to make up any lost ground”.