Martino calls for clinical Barcelona
By Football News
Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino says the La Liga champions' finishing will be key ahead of their El Clasico with Real Madrid on Saturday.
The Catalans have scored just one goal in their past 180 minutes in all competitions, being held by Osasuna 0-0 in the league before drawing 1-1with AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League.
Conversely, Real Madrid have scored 11 goals in their past four to be on a four-match winning streak in all competitions.
Martino said he was not concerned by Barca's lead-up play, only that their ability to finish it off with the perfect strike has been lacking in recent times.
"I think we are well because as I said in the last matches against Osasuna and Milan we haven't moved back," Martino said.
"We had many chances of winning in both matches and we played usually as Barcelona do.
"We have the expectation to play like that tomorrow and hopefully we will be a bit more effective scoring goals."
Martino said he was closely following the words of opposite number Carlo Ancelotti regarding the availability of star winger Gareth Bale.
"I have read Ancelotti's press conference and he said if Bale could play he would do it but he didn't say Bale is going to play for sure," he said.
"I think Bale is an awesome player."
When asked if he thought Bale was worth the world-record transfer fee Madrid paid, Martino said: "I don't have anything to say. I have respect for a player who could be a key player on the match."
Martino's side are three points clear of third-placed Real, and one point above Atletico Madrid, but he refuted suggestions the result at Camp Nou would be influential on the title race.
"I don't think it's an important match because of the length of the season," Martino said.
"I don't know if it's more important from the psychology side or sportive side.
"From the figures, I think there are more matches coming on the way and the team losing the match will have more matches for sorting the title out."