Martino: Clasico our last chance

Tata Martino has admitted that Sunday’s Clasico against Real Madrid is Barcelona’s ‘last chance’.

The Blaugrana are currently four points behind Los Blancos in the table, and can slip seven behind with a defeat at Santiago Bernabeu.

“Yes, it is [our last chance],” he told a Press conference.

“There’ll be nine games left and having to cut back one point wouldn't be the same thing as cutting back seven.

“The big teams don’t slip up so much. A draw isn’t a good result – we need to win.

“We need to play well, keeping possession of the ball, building up the play well and not losing balls that allow Madrid to counter-attack.

“We have to avoid one-on-ones out wide with [Gareth] Bale and Cristiano.

“We’ll try to think more about what we did in Manchester than in Valladolid. Our position in the league means we have to cut the gap.

“If you score first, you play with a greater degree of calm. It’s important that we do that.

“The players have always found out whether they’ll play the day before the match, and tomorrow is the same system.

“It’s true that I spoke to Messi and [Cesc] Fàbregas, but much more about the things they have to do defensively.”

The Argentine tactician then commented on Neymar’s recent poor form and Lionel Messi’s return to goals.

“Neymar played very well against Manchester City. I want to reaffirm that Neymar is one of the five best players in the world, along with [Leo] Messi, Cristiano and the odd player more.

“I don’t need a match, half a match or 10 minutes to confirm all the qualities he has. I don’t want people to believe that he’s just another player, because he isn’t.

“After Valladolid, we changed the look of the team, with Messi at the head. We’re all really hopeful and optimistic about winning tomorrow’s game.

“We’re going to give our all to cut the gap. In all the important games, Messi has always turned up. Let’s hope he has a great game. When that happens, Barça can only benefit.”

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