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Barca coach Martino downplays criticism

  • ESPN FC, Tuesday, September 24, 2013 4:16 PM
Gerardo Martino says he not concerned about criticism that Barcelona has taken a more direct approach since he took over as coach for Tito Vilanova in preseason. He also said statistics that showed Rayo Vallecano had more possession of the ball in its game against Barca were misleading.

“I am upset at nothing,” he said. “When a team has reached such a level of excellence as Barcelona, you always get these type of situations -- even more when you have a coach who is neither from the house nor Dutch. [But] long passes are not something unseen at Barcelona in the last 20 years. I mentioned Rafael Marquez before, and could also go back to Ronald Koeman.”

He was not concerned about the stats that showed Rayo had more possession, more shots and more passes completed -- the first time all that had happened since May 2008 against Real Madrid -- pre-Pep Guardiola days.

“There are always statistics, and you always pay attention to them, but I am more interested in them at the end of the season -- not so much now,” Martino added. “You also have to look at who you are playing. The game last season against Rayo was similar and they had the second best possession stats behind Barcelona last year. We have changed from 66 percent possession last season to 65.8 percent this year -- you cannot say we are changing everything because of 0.2 percent difference.”

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