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Martino unpertubed by style questions

SoccerNews in La Liga 23 Sep 2013

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Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino is unconcerned by question marks over his side’s style of play this season.

The Catalan giants have won all five of their La Liga fixtures this campaign and comprehensively beat Rayo Vallecano 4-0 away on Saturday, but have drawn criticism from some quarters over the manner of their victories.

Barca enjoyed 46 per cent possession during their win at the Estadio de Vallecas – the first time since February 2010 they have had less of the ball than their opponents in a top-flight fixture.

But ahead of Tuesday’s game with Real Sociedad at the Camp Nou, Martino insisted he is not worried by that fact.

“No, I’m not upset at all,” he said. “As I said, I find it normal that there’s a bit of controversy in these situations as Barcelona had excellency last year and now the manager isn’t from the club nor Dutch.

“So it is normal that there’s some debate around the way the team is playing. Personally I just worry about the players and if I see them convinced and solid I’m relaxed and confident.

“Regarding the possession, last year in a similar match it was 55 per cent to 45 per cent for Barcelona so they weren’t that superior and Rayo Vallecano were the second team with more possession after Barcelona last year.

“You need to bear in mind the rivals, the way they play. In their stadium, Rayo have a smaller pitch which works in favour to the pressure they put and how they drive the ball.”

Martino also spoke of his pleasure at how well new signing Neymar has settled at the club.

The Brazil international has yet to score in La Liga, but has provided three assists and Martino praised his all-round contribution to the team.

“Neymar has adapted very quick to the team and its needs,” he continued. “Also, he has been very important not only attacking but also helping the team to defend.”

Barcelona welcome back Sergio Busquets for the Sociedad fixture after the midfielder was rested for the trip to Rayo, but Cesc Fabregas is omitted from the squad as Martino continues his rotation policy.

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