Martino fully focused on Valencia

Tata Martino has claimed that his Barcelona side will not take Valencia lightly as they prepare to face Los Che on Sunday.

The Blaugrana travel to Mestalla tomorrow looking for their third win of the season, and despite the opponents poor start, the Argentine Coach has insisted that his team won’t be complacent.

“It’s the people around the team who are more likely to get distracted than the players themselves. We watched the [Champions League] draw and we played against Atleti.

“We need to follow everything that’s going on, but know what’s important. Valencia have had two tough games. They played well against Málaga, better than against Espanyol, who won playing defensively.

“We’ll try and find our best form, to show what we’re capable of. It’s important to neutralise Banega, he’s a dangerous player who could hurt us.

“The stats show we haven’t lost there since 2006, but we’ve only won two.

“We need to play well and try to win. They’ll be up for it and they’ve got decent players who always try to attack. What we try and do during the week is work on situations taken from recent matches.”

Martino then commented on the decision to leave Xavi and Alexis Sanchez out of the squad, as well as the fitness and form of Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta.

“They played a lot in the pre-season. Now it’s their turn to rest, then they are off with their countries, so it’s good they take a break now. I told them they weren’t going to travel to Valencia.

“They’ve played a lot and I think it’s logical for them to rest now, so other players who haven’t had so much of a chance have an opportunity. I think it’s great the players are off with their national sides, but I need to look at how many games they are playing.

“Piqué and Mascherano, for example, won’t play for two weeks and they’ll be rested. I was a national coach and I know what it means to call players up.

“When Messi has a niggle we need to take care. So he didn’t train yesterday and today he was fine. Tomorrow he’ll be good. It’s better to be able to play a match then spend an hour training.

“At the start of the season it’s always difficult to show your best form. After the Gamper trophy and the first league game some might have thought the side was ready, but we still need to improve the play of the team as a whole, rather than focus on individuals.

“As to Iniesta, just like all those who didn’t do a full pre-season, he’ll find it harder. Good results will make it easier to fix the problems.

“We’re lacking freshness. We’re not conceding goals and teams aren’t making chances against us, though Valdés made two cracking saves against Atlético and one against Málaga. We need to sort out the goal scoring.

“With the potential we have up front I think we should be scoring, the key therefore is not giving any away.”

Tags Alexis Iniesta Martino Messi Xavi