Gerard Pique believes Barcelona ‘perhaps became slaves’ to their tiki-taka playing style and that with Tata Martino, they now have an alternative approach.
The Catalans have enjoyed a highly successful era in the sport in recent seasons, hand-in-hand with developing a style of play under Pep Guardiola and continued by Tito Vilanova that was focused on high pressing and possession-based, tiki-taka play.
For one of the club’s key centre-backs, however, work under Tata Martino has developed the realisation that the team could have benefited from an alternative approach from time to time.
“We have played the past few years with Coaches produced from within the club, with Pep and then Tito, who maybe exaggerated our playing style, perhaps to the point that we were a little enslaved to it,” Pique has told the Gazzetta dello Sport this week.
“Tata has arrived from outside, whilst also with the same idea of playing football, to keep the ball, but he also has other options to play.
“He has some ideas that are very, very positive, in the sense that we have some variants. In football you have to improve each year, develop, eventually people will get to see.
“If we are crowded out, playing a couple of long balls isn’t bad, it can change the game, it can give us breathing room.
“It is normal to try out new variations, because after so many years, opponents now know us and it becomes difficult. We have found alternative solutions, but, without affecting our identity.”