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Tata Martino. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.

Gerardo Martino comes into his first derby with a record of 10 wins and 1 draw from the first 11 rounds of La Liga. “I know we can do better and we have an important margin of improvement, but seeing the results we’ve secured in these three months, we can only be optimistic about the future,” said the Argentine manager.

When asked about his first Barça-Espanyol, he said that it’s “an important match because we have to do things well” and that he expects a “combative and dangerous” Espanyol side.

Comparisons

During the press conference the questions revolved around Barça’s current form in relation to the glorious form from seasons past. Martino was clear: “I hope we can find our best form soon, but we shouldn’t always compare ourselves to past Barça teams.” However, the Barça manager said the he’s not bothered by the comparisons: “As the manager I would like to get closer to the form Barça had two years ago, that was the best team in the history of the sport. There isn’t a best team in the history of football every year.”

I hope we can find our best form soon, but we shouldn’t always compare ourselves to past Barça teams

He then went on to talk about the team’s current form: “At the beginning we had dips in form but now we are more consistent. We could still do better with controlling matches, however.” He added: “It doesn’t suit us to have a feeling of not being in control, because our players are very decisive. The ideal is that our rivals feel as though they don’t have control.”

Sure of Messi

Tata Martino also talked about Leo Messi’s form and the fact that he hasn’t scored in three consecutive league games. “He’s very strong mentally. I have no worries whatsoever when it comes to him, the only thing we want is for him be match fit,” he said. Martino continued: “Messi has gotten us used to him scoring three goals per game and anytime he doesn’t we think something is wrong. He can play well and not score, like what happened in Vigo.”


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