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Martino: Possession paid off for Barcelona

Gerardo Martino believes FC Barcelona's control of the ball was the key to their win at ten-man Manchester City FC, Manuel Pellegrini admitting it had been a "very difficult" evening.

Martino: Possession paid off for Barcelona
Martino: Possession paid off for Barcelona ©UEFA.com

Manuel Pellegrini, Manchester City manager
We played very well and tried to draw level but then they scored the second goal in the last minute. Barcelona didn't have any chances to score until the penalty. It was important to continue playing the way we did [when City went down to ten men] and try to score. With one player less it was very difficult to score but we had two or three chances.

Barcelona had a lot of the ball but they had it where we wanted. They were not near our area; that's what we wanted. The team played with courage, with personality, and tried to draw the match with ten men.

We're going to try, of course, at the Camp Nou – we did it at Bayern when we lost at home. The second goal makes it difficult because the match was almost over and now [Barcelona] have a bigger advantage but we will have to see what we can do there.

We've never been going for trophies – we try to win every match, in every competition, and we'll see at the end if we can win a trophy.

Gerardo Martino, Barcelona coach
City play the ball around a lot but they're more direct than we are. We had the feeling beforehand that if we kept the ball well, they weren't going to have the same directness that they normally have. For ten minutes during the first half we lost control a little but in the rest of the game we did well.

We have to keep calm and continue along the same path because there is no time to relax – we must start thinking about our next Liga game. We have clear objectives for each tournament. We can play better or we can play worse [than tonight] but in no way are we going to relax. 

Our intention was to win, but we lost control for ten minutes in the first half and did the same in the second half for ten minutes, when City had two good chances. Every time we gave them the advantage, it was a risk for us. I'm not confident [the tie is over], but we played a good away game and must repeat the same performance at home.

We're going to keep playing with the same intensity, the same commitment, in the second leg. They are tough opponents, almost at the same level – the only difference is that we won an away game, but we can't forget that City lost to Bayern at home but beat them away.

Our aim was to win. At no point did we ever think about a result that wasn't winning. The result was a fair one. An end-to-end game wouldn't have suited us [but] we knew there would be moments when we would be under pressure. We play a little differently with three forwards, so the decision to deploy another midfielder was made with the intention of us having more and better possession.

We gave a good display and won the first half of a 180-minute contest. We will have to play with the same focus and intensity in the return in order to get through the tie. 

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