Martino says current form should secure win at Levante

Gerardo Martino

Martino thinks that Barça’s current form will be enough to win at Levante

The Catalan giants snatched a 1-1 draw away to Levante on Sunday, which is Barça’s second draw in succession following the 0-0 draw at joint leaders, Atlético Madrid. Both teams surprised the Catalans by dropping deep and staving off attacks by Barcelona, which ended in disrupting the azulgrana’s usual passing game.

Despite these two minor setbacks, Martino trusts his team’s style and will not be making any big changes for tonight’s game.

We expect the same as in the last game,” Martino said. “More than work on [breaking down packed defences], we have talked about how we can break their defensive structure and do them damage.
“After two draws, if we keep playing the same way, we have more chance of winning than drawing again. The opponents play as they can, as they want, and it is up to us to solve problems they present.”

Andres Iniesta has been left out of the travelling squad for the return to Levante due to the knee knock suffered against Atletico, but Martino played down fears the problem was serious.
Iniesta will not travel to the Ciutat de Valencia stadium as he suffered a knock against Atlético Madrid. Tata Martino also played down suggestions that Iniesta’s knee problem was serious. He said that the player was still doing different training work, as the player didn’t look quite right in the last training sessions. Martino says that as it’s not a critical stage of the campaign, he didn’t want to run the risk of making the injury worse.

Argentine star Messi should be making his 400th appearance for the club tonight if all goes well, with the coach confirming that his talisman is now fully recovered.
Martino also spoke about the height of his team, recognizing that six of the last 13 goals have come from set pieces. Levante scored their goal on Sunday from a corner kick. He spoke about the risks that are taken when a coach fields a team of smaller, more technical players, but accepted that Barça had a few issues in that department.

It is a problem we have, with a smaller team with players like Dani Alves, Jordi Alba, Xavi and others,” he said. “In which are we going to trust in more — in our style of play or in set-pieces? Sometimes that might cost us a goal, but we will have much more chance of winning by keeping our style of play.”

Gerard Piqué and Martin Montoya are expected to be rested for tonight’s clash with number two keeper José Manuel Pinto coming in to replace Valdés as Barça’s usual stopper for La Copa del Rey games.

With Brazilian Dani Alves suspended, Martino could call on Adriano Correia, Marc Bartra, Sergi Roberto, Carles Puyol , Alex Song and Cristian Tello for tonight’s game. Martino is continuing with his rotations and doesn’t want to field his strongest first eleven just to ensure a win.

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  1. Bitacoras.com says:

    Bitacoras.com

    Barcelona coach Tata Martino reckons that his team should beat Levante tonight if they play as well as their last two games in the Spanish League.

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