Jemez recalls Barca plan

Paco Jemez has reflected on how and why he believes Rayo Vallecano were able to steal possession from Barcelona.

Rayo became the first team since May 2008 to record a higher percentage of ball possession in a competitive game against Barcelona, in Saturday’s League meeting.

“I will say more than a demerit of Barcelona, it was a merit for Rayo,” Jemez, whose side still lost 4-0, reflected to AS.

“Last season in their field we were very close to it. At that time the percentage was 52 for them and 48 for us.

“Whilst this has led to talk of Barcelona renouncing possession, I do not believe it. The proof is that until they had faced us, they had continued with the monopoly of the ball.

“How did we manage it? By going after them, pressing high, mainly at their centre-backs. However, with the quality of the Barcelona players, they can have the ball whenever they want.

“Another thing is that they win it back much closer to the opponents’ penalty area than before.”

The fact Rayo recorded more possession has heightened debate over the team’s changing style of play under Tata Martino.

“More than a complete change, there are details. It is not that Barca want to lose possession of the ball, because the more you have, the better.

“But now there is respite, whereas before it was a suffocation pressure.”

Jemez’s Rayo currently sit 16th in La Liga, having lost four of their first five games of the season.

“We play the game that we always do. What we want is to have the ball as long as possible to try to create danger and so that our opponent cannot hurt us. It is another thing for it to give us the win.”

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