Barcelona news

Gerardo Martino: Win down to Vilanova

August 29, 2013
By Dermot Corrigan, Spain Correspondent

New Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino has dedicated the club's Supercopa win to his predecessor in the job, Tito Vilanova.

Barcelona claimed the silverware after a heated stalemate.
GettyImagesBarcelona claimed the silverware after a heated stalemate.

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Martino took up the post in late-July after Vilanova was forced to step down due to the health issues which so interrupted the 2012-13 season at the Camp Nou.

Wednesday night's 0-0 second-leg home draw against Atletico Madrid meant that Barcelona claimed the first prize of the new Spanish season on away goals, giving Tata his maiden trophy after just over a month in charge.

However, the Argentine was quick to say afterwards that credit was due to the work done by Vilanova and his assistants in claiming the Primera Division title in such "tragic" circumstances last term.

"It is a final that we featured in because of the good work from last season," Martino said. "I am here because of a tragedy. We are champions because of the players, Tito and the coaching staff."

Barca fans began the game excited at seeing Leo Messi and Neymar start their first competitive game together, but they were less happy by the end of a game in which Atletico came very close to pulling off a major shock.

Martino admitted that his side had been far from their best, and there was plenty of room for improvement.

"We are not doing too badly considering that the season just started," he said. "We have to have more pace, more precision and attack into space. The goal is to play more like we did in the first 20 minutes, when we were at our quickest."

Messi and Neymar need more time to get used to playing together, Tata insisted.

"Separately they played a good game," he said. "It is true they did not link up much, but they did not find each other. Neymar came inside a little as an interior, and each time Leo dropped deep he came to the other side. Sometimes they were far away from each other, but they will achieve it. We cannot train. You get it playing games and also we do not want to risk asking for premature exertions from the players."

Although Victor Valdes had been Barca's best player, with three top-drawer saves including one phenomenal stop from Arda Turan, Martino said he did not think Diego Simeone's well-drilled outfit had been the better team.

"Atletico had three shots," he said. "Victor saved two of them. What has always characterised Victor is that he does what a keeper at a big team must do. They attacked twice, and he sorted out the situation."

The Camp Nou crowd spent much of the second half asking for the introduction of Andres Iniesta, who was left on the bench with Cesc Fabregas starting in midfield, and only brought on with 18 minutes remaining.

"It seemed to me that today we needed to start with this midfield," Martino said shortly. "There is nothing else to say."

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