The Argentine played down the possibility of matching ex Barca boss Pep Guardiola’s record of 21 unbeaten games in the 2011-2012 season tonight against Ajax, preferring instead the six titles the Catalan side won in 2009. ” I would much rather equal the record of 2009, when the club won six titles in a year”.
Although Barcelona has already secured its presence in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League, the Argentine coach is serious about tonight’s clash: “In any game, however important it is, a bad performance will sow the seed of doubt and this is what we want to avoid”. After the Ajax game, we’ll start thinking about the Bilbao match,” he added.
The coach talked about the credentials of the Dutch side. “I have always considered Ajax to be a great club, one that has done a lot of work in the youth ranks. Ajax has always had skilled players, who are very good with the ball. It will be an extremely tough opponent”, he added.
Martino believes the daring approach of the Dutch side could leave the Catalan giants with less ball possession than usual: “It might mean that we lose possession of the ball so one of the keys to this game is to press hard to recover it”.
Although Dani Alves, Adriano and Jordi Alba are all out injured, the Argentine has summoned Barca B player Patric, who he has not ruled out being in the starting lineup.