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Martino glad to see Barcelona improving

Gerardo Martino hailed a "very important" win for FC Barcelona against an AFC Ajax side whose coach Frank de Boer was left "really annoyed" by two lapses in concentration.

Martino glad to see Barcelona improving
Martino glad to see Barcelona improving ©UEFA.com

Gerardo Martino, Barcelona coach
We were better in the second half, better in terms of our passing game. We didn't play well in the first half, with many long balls. We are still making mistakes but we are improving game by game. Today Xavi [Hernández] was on the bench, but on another day it could be any other player. We've got three players for those positions who play for the national side, and – unless one can play out wide – when I want to play with two, I'll rotate as I think best. It was very important for me and for the club to have begun with a victory in this group stage.

We're getting back to where Barcelona have always been. People are saying we're trying to change the style, but that's not true. We are looking for alternatives. Some of the players worked hard rather than being brilliant, like [Daniel] Alves and Alexis [Sánchez]. I liked Andrés [Iniesta's] performance; he's getting better. In general I thought the team did well. We need to keep the performance levels up over the whole 90 minutes.

Frank de Boer, Ajax coach
I was satisfied with the first half, when we created almost as many chances as they did. We also did very well in terms of playing football. Obviously it could have been better, because we lost the ball unnecessarily at times. It is a shame that very early in the second half we conceded the second goal. After that second one from [Lionel] Messi, suddenly everything was wide open. One moment of not paying attention and the ball is in the goal. That is something you know already before the match and that cannot happen. The same also applied for the 3-0 goal from Gerard Piqué. We gave away two goals and that's what really annoys me.

In the end I think the 4-0 defeat is a blow, because – again – we gave away two unnecessary goals. Without those two goals we had almost as many chances as them. We certainly were not better than them, but I thought we played pretty well. I think that at times we showed good game play, despite the pressure and the lack of top form, against a big team like Barcelona. We have shown that we are able to play good football.