Tata Martino says that Barcelona are taking Cartagena seriously tomorrow, as they look to bounce back from recent defeats.
The Catalans are strong favourites to comfortably beat their Segunda B opponents on Friday evening’s Copa del Rey Round of 32 first leg clash, despite having lost their last two matches in all competitions.
However, their Coach is clear that the attitude his team carry into tomorrow’s fixture is one of respect.
“Every match carries risk and that counts for tomorrow and for everyone who we play,” Martino has reflected to reporters today.
“We have to do our job and win, that’s what we live. Before the match against Ajax it looked like there was not much importance and look what happened next.
“We cannot think beyond what is coming. And what is coming is Cartagena.”
Martino was asked if he had a message of reassurance for the fans, following recent results against Ajax and Athletic Bilbao.
“I would like that any message is sent to the fans on the pitch. We are full of optimism. On the other side of things you can say we are top of the League and into the Champions League knockout phase.
“We have to say we are going to fight, but that being first in the table and in the second round of the Champions League means something. That does not mean that we do not worry about losing two games. But we are not full of pessimism.
“The responsibility for the two defeats is absolutely with me. Yes I am concerned that the team has lost its shape, especially after conceding the goal in Bilbao.
“Our strength is in always playing the same way even if we lose, as happened against Valladolid. We have to stick more to the intention of play that we have.
“We are having trouble finding our best level and giving continuity for 90 minutes. There is little time to work each week and sometimes corrections are difficult. Yesterday we were able to work more on tactics.
“We talked after the game against Ajax. It is always good to have conversations with the players. They give a point of view and I have mine. Sometimes we agree, sometimes not.
“We always look for positive conclusions. I repeat – after the Ajax game we met and chatted with the tone that I am talking in now. Nothing more.
“Is the criticism unfair on me? It always has a point. I do not control the truth, you have to live with it. I cannot say whether it is fair or unfair.
“My job is to train, improve the team and pick the best one for each match. The criticism that I face, being here and before you, it is nothing more.”