• Spain's news in English

Coach calm as Messi goal drought continues

AFP · 2 Nov 2013, 09:51

Published: 02 Nov 2013 09:51 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

It is the first time since April 2011 that Messi has gone four games without scoring in La Liga and he appeared on the fringes of the game throughout as Barca struggled to breakdown their city rivals at the Camp Nou.

"I continue to think the same about him," Martino said after the game, "It is difficult to do an individual analysis of a player in every single game, but Leo continues to be the most important player in a team replete with important figures".

"His manner of playing still offers us a huge amount and if the team continues to win you will see the best of our best players shortly."

Despite the victory that moves Barca, temporarily at least, four points clear of Atletico Madrid and nine ahead of Real Madrid at the top of La Liga, Messi cut a forlorn figure at the end of the match.

However, in between his goal drought in domestic competition, Messi did net in Barca's 1-1 draw away to Milan in the Champions League and Martino used that goal as his evidence that there is no problem with the four-time World Player of the Year.

"I don't think he is worried. It is a coincidence, in the same way that it is rare for a player to score at least a goal in every game of half a season (as Messi did last season), it is rare that he goes three or four games without scoring."

"For me it is three games because he scored in Milan. Today he assisted well, he had a chance with a header and a free-kick that went just past. Obviously I would be delighted if he does what he usually does and scores two or three goals every game, but when you set the bar so high and then don't score it seems like there is a problem. For me, from what I see of him, there is no problem."

An 11th win in 12 league games for Martino's men was achieved thanks to a 10th clean sheet in 17 games in all competitions this season.

And whilst the Argentine admitted that offensively his side were not at their best, he is happy with the improvement they have made at the back in recent weeks.

Story continues below…

"Without doubt, along with the end of the game against Atletico Madrid, it was the worst match at home (since Martino's arrival). We needed pressure, dynamism, speed. We were finding the right players in the right areas, but we lacked the finesse and final pass."

"You could see that more in the first-half. When there are more spaces, like in the last 10 minutes, we created more chances."

"But to play 90 minutes and the opponent have just one or two chances is good. That is something we have improved on a lot since the first few weeks of the season."

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spain's Rajoy says king has tasked him with forming govt
Photo: AFP

Spain's king on Tuesday tasked Mariano Rajoy with forming a government, taking the acting conservative prime minister a step closer to power again after a 10-month political deadlock.

Two imams arrested in Ibiza resort over 'Isis support'
The men were arrested in the resort of Sant Antoni de Portmany. Photo: Jose A / Flickr

Two Moroccan imams at a mosque on the Spanish resort island of Ibiza were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of backing the Islamic State group and inciting jihad.

Balearic Islands choose to keep summertime forever
The islands will have longer evenings during winter. Photo: AFP

The Balearic Islands want to keep summertime when the rest of Spain turns the clocks back on Sunday.

  Brazilian had 'uncontrollable desire to kill': Spain police
Francois Patrick Nogueira Gouveia has been charged with murdering his uncle, his wife and their two children. Photo: Guardia Civil.

A Brazilian teenager accused of dismembering his uncle and aunt and killing their two young sons in a grisly crime that shocked Spain had an "uncontrollable desire to kill", police said on Monday.

Man rescued from bin after climbing in to find old clothes
Photo: Policía Local Murcia

Police were called after passersby reported hearing a man calling for help from within a rubbish bin in the Vistabella neighbourhood of Murcia, southern Spain.

Spain faces crucial week as conservatives re-take power
Mariano Rajoy hopes to form a government this week. Photo: AFP

Spain entered a crucial week as acting conservative PM Mariano Rajoy prepared to re-take power, ending ten rollercoaster months without government marked by hope and disillusion.

Eight very creepy Halloween costumes ideas from Spain
Photo: Pan's Labyrinth

Forget flamenco dancers and bullfighters, The Local counts down the freakiest alternative costume ideas to dress up in this Halloween.

Man attacked by racist thug in UK street for talking Spanish

Tomas Gil, 27, from Valencia in eastern Spain was talking to his girlfriend in their native language after a night out in the British seaside town of Poole when he was set upon by a racist thug.

Malaga: Police probe bizarre 'sex death' of homeless Brit
The man was found near Malaga airport. Photo: Dennis Howlett / Flickr

A British homeless man was found dead tied to a bench near Malaga airport with his trousers down and his genitals in a can of tuna.

Clock ticking as Spain races to avoid third elections
Third elections could now be avoided. Photo: AFP

Spain's Socialists voted on Sunday to allow the conservatives to take power, likely averting a third election for Spaniards tired of going to the polls.

Analysis & Opinion
Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
jobs available