NEWS
Tuesday February 18 2014
Martino: Possession the key

Tata Martino is adamant that whoever has the lion’s share of possession this evening will win the match.

Barcelona travel to the Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City in their Champions League Last 16 first leg.

And the Argentine Coach has admitted that his men must dominate the ball if they are to come away with a positive result.

“Having possession of the ball will elevate Barca and at the same time, reduce City,” he told a Press conference.

“Whoever sees less of the ball will suffer most. You cannot prioritize [the game over a goal]. We need to have possession of the ball as that will elevate us and go against City.

“After doing that, then we can think about trying to grab a goal.

“What stands out about City for me is their diversity – they have many ways of advancing - channelling play through the middle then playing the ball out to their full-backs, or going directly through the centre.

“They are experts at set-pieces, and they’re the top scorers in the League so in that sense, they are a difficult side to stop.

“The best formula is not to let them have the ball. Their style of play is similar to ours, maybe a little more direct than we are but their players link up well”.

“[Are they a mini Barca?] No, they’re not mini in any sense of the word – they’re one of the best teams in the world.

“Navas plays a very direct game, Silva manages the ball and sets the pace. They have players from different nationalities – Yayá Touré, Agüero, Fernandinho...

“I don’t want to sound presumptuous but this tie could have taken place a little later on in the tournament – at the very least at the quarter final stage because both teams are in fine form”.

Martino then commented on the news that Sergio Aguero will be missing for the Premier League outfit this evening.

“I will give you two answers – one as a football fan and one as Coach of FC Barcelona. As a fan, I’ll be very sorry if he doesn’t play because we all want to see the world’s best players but as Barça Coach, it would be one less problem for us.”

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