Barca in crisis too jokes Martino

05 November 2013 07:46

Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino has responded to criticism of his side's style of play by joking they are in crisis ahead of their Champions League clash with AC Milan on Wednesday.

The Catalans are unbeaten in 17 games since Martino took charge and lead both La Liga and their Champions League group, two points ahead of Milan.

By contrast, the Italians are in the midst of a fully fledged crisis as they have made their worst start to a Serie A season since 1981-82 with five defeats in 11 games.

However, concerns have still been raised about Martino's intention to get Barca to play in a slightly more direct manner.

And when asked about the Italian's form, Martino took the opportunity to respond to some of the over the top criticism his side have received.

"We too are in crisis. In this way we are alike," he said.

"I don't know what a crisis is. I hear about it, but I don't know what it is. It is always possible to improve and we have a margin to do so."

Barca can seal their place in the last-16 with victory over the struggling seven-time European champions, but despite their current predicament, Martino insisted he would not be taking them lightly.

"I don't trust in historic clubs going through a crisis. If you don't have a good night, these teams can have their way with you.

"It is vital to achieve qualification with two games to play. That would allow us to relax."

One area of real concern for Barcelona has been the form of Lionel Messi as the four-time World Player of the Year has failed to score in his last four La Liga games for the first time in over two years.

However, Barca full-back Dani Alves is sure his teammate will be back amongst the goals in no time.

"Football is made up of phases, he helps the team and that is the most important thing. As for the rest, we will help him so that it comes as soon as possible.

"We don't need to worry, there are always crazy moments throughout the course of a season, it happens to us all. He just needs to keep working, not lose his confidence and the goals will come soon."

Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri has much bigger worries with rumours suggesting his job could be on the line should he fail to turn things around against Barca and in this weekend's league trip to Chievo.

However, he believes his side can take encouragement from the way they contained Barca in the 1-1 draw between the sides two weeks ago at the San Siro.

"Tomorrow will be the eighth time we have played against Barca in the last three years. It is a match that brings great difficulties because Barca continue to be the strongest team and we need to concentrate very hard." he said.

"We can leave with a positive result tomorrow but we need to play an excellent game. If we play as well in defence and, particularly in attack, as we did in the first game then we have a chance."

Source: AFP

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