Martino wants Barca focus

Tata Martino has called on Barcelona to ignore any outside factors and concentrate on their League form.

Los Cules go to Sevilla on Sunday and three points would take them top of the table after Atletico Madrid lost to Almeria.

Barca would join Atleti and Real Madrid on 57 points with a victory but Martino is under no illusions of the scale of the task at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

“This is one of our most difficult away games,” the Coach told a Press conference.

“Sevilla is an intense and very elaborate team and we struggled to beat them in the first round of games.

“They have a very elaborate strategy and it’ll be a key match, whether the outcome is positive or negative.”

Barca’s defeat in their last League outing, at home to Valencia, saw Martino’s side slip from the top of the table and led to criticism from some sections of the media.

But Martino wants to focus on playing and hit out at the mood swings of the Press which, he feels, are dictated too easily by results.

“We have to isolate, become strong between us and think only about football,” Martino went on.

“Every day there’s a headline on [Lionel] Messi. Sometimes I want to ask you not to write about him for a couple of days.

“How about we let Messi have a couple of quiet days? I’d prefer you to leave him alone so we can enjoy the best player in the world.

“[The title race] still depends on us.

“But there is no middle ground. It’s one extreme to the other.

“Before the match against Valencia the feeling was we’re doing extremely well. Six days later, we’re not.

“We have to isolate ourselves from that and improve, because there is room for improvement.”

Martino also said that the defeat to Valencia was a freak result and not totally reflective of the performance.

“What happened against Valencia was a tragedy.

“But the first-half was the best of the past eight months. How it finished 1-1 was just weird.

“Then in the second-half, we didn’t play well.”

Tags Lionel Messi Tata Martino