Barcelona boss Tata Martino believes his players will bounce back from last weekend’s crushing defeat against Real Sociedad when they host Almeria at the Nou Camp tonight.
Martino’s men lost top spot with a 3-1 loss against Sociedad, resulting in a bitter heap of criticism being aimed in the direction of Martino and his players.
Today’s Madrid derby ensures Barca will be able to gain ground on at least one of their rivals, and Martino is expecting a positive response to last weekend’s setback, whilst accepting their performance at the Anoeta was below par.
“We didn’t play in the way we should have done, and now we’re obliged to give a lot more,” he admitted. “It’s been a bad week, the same as it always is after a bad result. It’s not just about winning this game – we also have to return to playing the way we did before.”
Despite falling three points behind Real at the top of the standings, Martino pointed out that his players are still in charge of their own destiny as they prepare to travel to the Bernabeu later this month before hosting Atletico on the final day of the season.
“The league title is still in our hands but we need to win all our matches,” he said. “The team is very self-critical, both the players and the coaching staff, and that’s why I have complete confidence in a good reaction.”
With defender Jordi Alba back in action following injury, Martino can call upon a full squad for tonight’s meeting with relegation threatened Almeria.
And on a personal level, he shrugged off speculation that Barca are already searching for a new coach to replace him, saying: “I’m not going to analyse what’s being said, whether good or bad. I have to concentrate on my job.”