Tata Martino has offered his apologies to the Barcelona supporters after La Blaugrana lost to Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey final.
Gareth Bale’s late solo goal gave Madrid a 2-1 win at Valencia’s Mestalla and means Barca are in danger of ending the season without a trophy.
The Catalans are third in the League table, four points adrift of leaders Atletico Madrid, who also knocked them out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage.
AS reports that Martino offered his sympathies to the fans, and added that as far he is concerned his future at Camp Nou hasn’t been adversely effected by the defeat.
“I feel very sorry for the defeat and to the people who support us,” Martino told reporters.
“This team has a long way to go and a lot of positive things to do. I am as I have to be when there is a loss.
“I can’t think of a much more painful loss but my future doesn’t depend on this result. As I’ve been saying for weeks, I don’t think my future would have changed whether we had won or lost.
“We have to find strength now where it has been scarce. The League doesn’t present a favourable picture but we have to keep fighting, because the maths says we are still in it.
“But I can’t deny that it has been a tough week. I don’t think it’s an emotional issue. Today we are unhappy, we lost a final.
“I feel a great sorrow for the loss and I feel a great debt to the people who came on a long trip to encourage us. Things like this can happen.
“This is a team that when you look at it, we have a long journey to do better and get better results than we have this year.
“We congratulate Madrid. It’s not a good time or a happy time for us. It has been a tough week on all fronts but we have to move forward and continue to aspire to what we have left. It’s a painful defeat.
“The loss hits us hard. We had great expectations for today’s game and the desire to take a big win.
“It’s difficult to talk about individuals after a defeat. I’ll take the football we tried to play even if there was something missing.
“Maybe we lacked penetration but we had a lot of control. When we controlled the game, we suffered on the counter-attack and we lost the game.”
The issue of Barca’s style under Martino was raised, as was the question of how Barca intended to defend against Bale and the scorer of the game’s first goal, Angel Di Maria.
“We knew we had to stop Bale and Di Maria and most of the time we did it well,” Martino said.
“The goals were scored in two moves that Madrid usually make. They unfolded well for them and we paid dearly for two counters.
“Bale has a lot of power and plenty of composure to make a difference. He did it very well.
“We had the ball for a long time in the game and they wanted to counter. Without the ball Bale and Di Maria were defensive forwards but were very fast and became double No. 9s very quickly.
“They are plays that Madrid do. I think we paid very dearly for those two counter-attacks. It’s very rare to see a player at that stage of the game with the strength to run like Bale did.
“The team plays in a way that has a lot of the ball and create, but when we’re not completely accurate the matches get uncomfortable, especially if we don’t score first.
“It’s not normal that it costs Barca so much to score a goal. There’s three games where we haven’t scored.”
Martino did however take a positive from the performance of Marc Bartra, who overcame an injury that as late as Wednesday afternoon appeared to have ruled him out of the match.
“He has done very well. Bartra has come out of the game stronger and is one of the things we can take into the future,” Martino said of the centre-back, who scored Barca’s goal.
“Despite how bad it is to lose a final there are good things to take from it and the performance of Marc is a good thing.”