Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has hailed the tactical influence of Gerardo Martino at the Camp Nou.
Martino took over from Tito Vilanova in July after the Spaniard left the club following a cancer relapse.
While the style of football under Vilanova and his predecessor Pep Guardiola brought immense success, including two UEFA Champions League trophies and four La Liga titles in five seasons, Pique believes that a change has been helpful.
Pique feels that his team-mates became “slaves to the system” and has welcomed a slightly more direct approach.
“We played the last few years with homegrown coaches, first Pep and then Tito, and maybe we ended up exasperating our style of play to the extent that we found ourselves slaves to that system, that style,” the Spain international told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Now that Tata (Martino), who comes from outside the club, has arrived, and who shares the same ideas of football, which are based on possession, he is, however, showing us different options.”
Martino has made a positive start to life at the Camp Nou, securing the Supercopa de Espana while winning all three of his La Liga games.
Pique said that the changes have given them “variety” and helped them begin their title defence so positively.
“When we are being pressed, sending the ball long a few times is not negative; it helps you mix things up, giving you oxygen and preventing us from getting crushed with no way out,” he continued.
“We have started pressing far up the field again, winning back possession in the final third of the field and, from there, it’s far easier to create chances without having to build up from right at the back, particularly against sides who close up a lot.”