Tata Martino says he wishes he could shoulder more of the pressure put on Neymar, as he muses Barcelona’s targets to the end of 2013.
Neymar netted a hat-trick in midweek against Celtic to end his goalless start to life for Barcelona in the Champions League.
On from suggesting after that game that the Brazilian would benefit from rest this winter, his Coach has also suggested a little less pressure would be ideal.
“I wish I could endure more pressure and he less,” Martino explained to reporters at today’s Press conference.
“But I am not the one who plays and cannot have much of an impact on what happens in 90 minutes. He is very used to playing under pressure and usually does well.”
Martino has named an 18-man squad to play Villarreal tomorrow and included Andres Iniesta, who notably was also listed in midweek but did not feature.
“I felt that we could have risked him. If the match against Celtic had gone another way, then he would have played, but luckily we did not need him.
“He has trained a couple of days and arrives at the weekend in better condition.”
Martino reflected on Villarreal, visitors to the Camp Nou tomorrow in Week 16 of La Liga.
“Villarreal play the same way at home or away. They are playing the best football in this competition and have players that can tip the balance in every position.
“I’m expecting Barca to play football of the very finest quality. We have to get the team playing at that kind of level, because that will give us a much better chance.
“Our targets to the end of the year are to play better, to finish top of our Champions League group, to qualify for the next round of the Cup against Cartagena and to end the year top of the table, which means winning against Villarreal and Getafe.
“Is tomorrow a test? For Barcelona, every game is an important examination. We have played good and bad against different types of opponents.
“I do not know if this will be a test, but it will be important. Any error and we will pay dearly. We are seeking a level of play that would be good to project in tomorrow’s game.
“I am saddened when the team plays badly and loses. But if a manager gives up after the first defeat of a team that has 80 matches to play, then he's not ready to manage at this level.”