With a spot in the Round of 16 of the Champions League secured, manager Gerardo Martino talked to the press after this evening’s match against AC Milan: “We’re happy, we’ve reached an important objective.” He continued: “Qualification is what we were looking for, and it’s good that we got it early. Now we have more clarity for the things to come.” He added: “We have the obligation to finish at the top of the group, it will be especially good for our self confidence.”

Two different teams

Martino admitted that his team showed two different versions of itself this evening against Milan: “We saw two Barcelonas, in the first half we had more control and the second we were more direct. I don't dislike either version. We did a good job in the first half and in the second half we needed to take advantage of open space. Attacking with three forwards invites us to attack more directly.”
At times we allow our rivals to get into the game after we take a lead
The manager then went on to address a couple of aspects of this team’s play that need rectifying. “At times we allow our rivals to get into the game after we take a lead,” said Martino. “We have to be more decisive when it comes to winning back possession. There is always something that can be improved. I would love it if everyone liked how we play, but that’s not the case and that’s why we train on a daily basis.”

Praise for this players

Martino then went on to congratulate his players on their performances. Leo Messi was first: “He always comes out on top in these kind of situations. He played a phenomenal match, there was a spark to his play.” On Busquets, the other goalscorer against Milan, Martino said: “All you have to do is look back at what happened during the Guardiola era, the Tito era and his career with the Spanish national team...” Finally he explained why Carles Puyol wasn’t included in the team this evening: “He needs more training in order to be fit for high-level matches.”

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