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Tata Martino during the match. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Gerardo Martino said in the post-match press conference that Barça started off well but lost a little steam as time ticked off the clock, and that his men played “an excellent first half.” He added: “We played a normal second half and in the last 15 minutes we managed to have more control.” The Argentinian then praised Alexis, explained why Iniesta was subbed off and played down the fact that Barça have a six-point lead over Madrid.

“I made the subs to improve the team”

“It’s true that in the first half we appeared to be the team that we have always been. In the second half we weren’t doing a good job and I decided to make the subs that I needed to make in order to improve the team,” said Martino, who went on to say that Barça played “an excellent first half and Madrid didn’t have any chances.” The manager then explained why he subbed in Alex Song for Andrés Iniesta: “The Song-Iniesta sub was a defensive one, I won’t say that Song was supposed play in the attacking No10 position. It was a way to win the game and I’d do it again.”
In the second half we weren’t doing a good job and I decided to make the subs that I needed to make in order to improve the team
Praise for Alexis

Martino went on to praise Alexis Sanchéz for his performance against Madrid: “Alexis has been doing a great job since the end of last season. If this goal makes the people acknowledge him more, I welcome it. It will impact his performance, he’s always ready. He’s having an excellent season.” The manager then had words for Barça’s newest signing, Neymar: “He’s played better games, but the significance of his goal raises his performance. I believe he’s played better matches.”
If Alexis' goal makes the people acknowledge him more, I welcome it
There’s a lot left

The manager highlighted the importance of the pressure applied by the team’s forwards and he praised Leo Messi for defensive contribution. “Leo has given a lot to the team. If we find responses like his when it comes to winning back possession we’ll have a greater chance of succeeding and later, if we have the ball, it will be easier to attack,” said Tata, who said that the six-point advantage over Madrid is not definitive: “The impact from today’s result is more emotional than it is mathematical. A six-point advantage on Round 10 can’t be considered significant. I’m pleased and satisfied, but this has just begin. We still have 28 matches to go.”

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