In an interview with Italian sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport, Gerard Pique suggested that Barcelona had perhaps become ‘enslaved’ to its tiki-taka style of play, and that new coach Tata Martino has breathed an alternative approach into the club’s style of play. For Pique, working with Martino has made him realize that the team could have benefited from an alternative approach from time to time.
“We have played the past few years with Coaches produced from within the club, with Pep [Guardiola] and then Tito [Vilanova], who maybe exaggerated our playing style, perhaps to the point that we were a little enslaved to it,” the center back said. “Tata has arrived from outside, while also with the same idea of playing soccer, to keep the ball, but he also has other options to play. He has some ideas that are very, very positive, in the sense that we have some variants. In soccer you have to improve each year, develop, eventually people will get to see.
He added: “If we are crowded out, playing a couple of long balls isn’t bad, it can change the game, it can give us breathing room. It is normal to try out new variations, because after so many years, opponents now know us and it becomes difficult. We have found alternative solutions, but, without affecting our identity.”