The boss stressed the quality of the City side and explained his objective is that the team go into February playing well.
“They are a team who find it easy to score -we’ll look to have a good tie and more importantly, win it”.
As to this Tuesday’s Cup game against Cartagena: “we have to ensure we get through to the next round and we have to do so with maximum respect for our opponents”
Tuesday’s Cup game against Cartagena was very much in the background at Tata Martino’s press conference this lunchtime, with the attention on the draw for the last 16 of the Champions League, which has pitted Barça against Manchester City. As far as Martino is concerned: “they are a team who find it easy to score – we’ll look to have a good tie and more importantly, win it. Maybe they would have preferred not to play against FC Baarcelona. We have to ensure we go into February in good form”.
And for Martino, both teams’ form will be key to the tie, which is why he was reluctant to analyse City just yet: “they are an important rival with very good players , but form will be influential. I have always followed Pellegrini’s progress as a coach, both in South America and in Europe and so I’m very happy to play against one of his teams”.
The Cup game is first up of course and Martino insisted “we have to ensure we get through to the next round and we have to do so with maximum respect for our opponents. We also have to continue with the way we have been playing over the last three days”.
There are no B team players in the squad to face Cartagena, but the boss insisted that that decision was made before Eusebio’s side’s game on Sunday and he made it clear the side need the fans for every game: “I want to invite all our fans to come to this match”.
Finally, Martino dismissed rumours in the local press this weekend that Puyol was considering hanging up his boots: “the only thing I can say is that he hasn’t talked about it at all with me. I see him training normally and he always demands the most from himself. He’s never said anything like that, so I don’t see that there is any need to come out and deny it”.