Martino expects same Atleti

Tata Martino says he expects a similar Supercopa test for Barcelona tonight against Atletico Madrid as experienced last week.

Barca play host on Wednesday evening for the Supercopa de Espana second leg and head into the tie with the advantage of an away goal thanks to last week’s first leg 1-1 draw in Madrid.

“Before the first leg I said it was logical for us to be considered favourites,” began Martino to reporters in his pre-match address.

“In each competition that we play in, we’re favourites. We have to live with that and know how to deal with it. It doesn’t worry me when people say we’re favoured to win.

“It’s obvious that it’s much better to start a season by winning a title than by losing one.

“Winning the Super Cup would give a morale boost to the team. We’ll try to play our best game in order to beat them.

“I cannot imagine the game will be different to the first leg at the Calderon. It is likely that to our benefit we will be better adapted to the field.”

There are doubts about Lionel Messi’s fitness for the match, but the Coach was optimistic.

“Leo is fine, he has trained normally. He has worked harder in training alongside those who have played fewer minutes so far.”

It was asked of Martino whether he will hand Neymar a first start for the club. The Brazilian has so far only featured from the bench this term.

“I have the obligation to take care of my players. And when it comes to Neymar, who is young, even more so. My aspiration is for him to be a Barca player for 10 to 12 years, not for him to fix my problems in one match.

“I just want things to go well for him and the way we’re doing things is correct. We, the managers, do what we think is best [for the players].

“It’s rare when these types of players are born, players who are accustomed to take on the pressure.

“These players ignite passion in the fans and Neymar is one of them. He knows how to approach the beginning of the season, he’s doing very well.”

Tuesday saw Sergio Busquets make official his contract extension through to June 2018.

“Busquets is key to the team, because of how he plays and because of how the team play when he’s on the pitch.”

The Coach was asked of the team’s intentions in the transfer window as it enters a final week.

“I’m happy with the players that we have now. In reference to a centre forward and a centre back, if the season progresses and we notice that we need someone, we’ll be attentive in the winter transfer period.”

Tags Martino Supercopa de Espana