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Martino: “I’m keen to see Messi play with Neymar”

Gerardo-MartinoBarcelona coach, Tata Martino, spoke to the press before today’s much anticipated Supercopa second leg tie against Atletico Madrid, with the score at 1-1 from the first leg. Here are some of his comments:

Signing a striker? We’re the same as we were on the first day and we’re happy with the squad we’ve got. As coach I set out our requirements in the pre-season, not once the season is underway. This is the group I want. We’ll stay as we are even though the transfer window is still open. It’s the same with the defence, as the season goes on we’ll know if we need to get someone in the winter transfer window.

Messi: He’s fine and he trained normally. He worked with the group and he’s stronger than those who played in Málaga.

Neymar: He’s ready and we’ll take the decision when the game’s about to start. I’m keen to see him play with Messi, but I also have to do the right thing by every player. My aim is for him to play here for 10 or 12 years, not that he fixes one game for us. What I want is for the player to be ok and to feel that we helped him. We’re doing the right thing with him. It’s a subject the press like a lot and people love to read about it. His behaviour is perfect. We talk a lot. It’s to be expected that he wants to play, whether he’s an idol or not. We’ll find the best way to introduce him into the team little by little. He chose to come to Barcelona to play with Messi. I think we’re all doing things right, though he has to do in 30 minutes what some of the rest have a game to do. He’s a natural lad, and he’s used to coping with the pressure.

Midfielders: We’ve rotated from the first day. Not everybody likes it. I think it’s good for everyone to feel involved and important. What I’m interested in is for everybody to be ready to play. Over the whole year some will play more than others.

Rivals physical with Neymar: It’s up to the referee to deal with that. We’ve told the lads that they should get the ball back on the pitch and back in play as quickly as possible, without wasting any time.

Atlético: It’s logical for us to be favourites. We have to live with that burden. It’s not something that worries me and the squad knows how to deal with it. Atelti will be really tough opponents, with the same chances of winning as we do. I don’t think the game will be different from the first leg. We’ll have more possession and they’ll look for spaces. I’d agree that we need to be tough in every way tomorrow.

Support in the Camp Nou [known as being a ‘cold’ stadium]: I always think that in football it’s the players on the pitch who decide things. I can’t bring the Argentinean fans here to make a noise [laughs]. I’m the new one here, so I have to adjust to how things are here.

Godin’s gesture [made when Messi was holding his injured leg in the first leg]: I didn’t see any ill intention there. He was always very decent when I had anything to do with him.

Busquets: He’s indispensable for the team. He was a great investment for the team.

Iniesta: Some players need longer to get match fit.

 

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