Martino admits Barca shortfalls

Tata Martino saw a number of ways in which his Barcelona side were outdone by Ajax in defeat on Tuesday evening.

The Catalans suffered a first reverse of the season under their Argentine tactician, with the Dutch side winning 2-1 thanks to goals from Thulani Serero and Danny Hoesen.

Barca were given a lifeline through Xavi Hernandez’s early second-half penalty, which also saw Joel Veltman dismissed for a professional foul, but the game proved beyond the Blaugrana.

“Sometimes the possibility of losing rears its head,” mused Martino post-match to UEFA’s official website.

“More than the defeat, we have to analyse the shape in which the team played in the first 45 minutes which was when Ajax made the difference and when they set up their victory.

“We were lacking intensity. They were quicker and better in the one-on-one situations. Being better in all aspects of play brought them this success.

“Playing in games of this magnitude means you must match the intensity of your rival. We were facing a team that got the better of us in the opening half.

“We allowed those 45 minutes to pass us by and [because of that] we didn't achieve our goal.

“We didn't show our identity and we lost the match in the first half. On an individual level Barcelona were not as good as Ajax.

“We lacked precision and mobility. To analyse what went wrong we have to get into the heads of the players to find out.

“We have to prevent this repeating itself. Today we corrected it well and I expected a draw but at least we are through now.

“There was a big difference between the first and the second half, but with 10 men Ajax knew how to manage the situation and see it out.”

Tags Ajax Martino