El Clasico: Tata Martino got away with El Clasico win 'after picking wrong team'

Last Updated: 31/03/14 5:07pm

His team may have won an epic El Clasico but the Revista panel awarded Barcelona boss Tata Martino only six out of 10 for his contribution.

Barca blew La Liga wide open by beating Real Madrid 4-3 in the game of the season at the Bernabeu - their second victory over Los Blancos this campaign - as Lionel Messi bagged a hat-trick.

But Revista pundits Terry Gibson and Graham Hunter both questioned Martino's team selection, while Guillem Balague said the Argentine's future at the club is still in doubt as reports persist linking the 51-year-old to his national job.

Assessing Martino's performance on Sunday, Gibson said: "I'd give him six [out of 10] even though he won 4-3. He got away with it.

"I didn't agree with the team selection because Neymar isn't in great form at the moment, so I think Pedro should have played and I'm not a lover of Fabregas playing in an attacking midfield position. I think he lacks pace at times - he's better in an orthodox midfield of three.

"You have to have pace in attack so I think Pedro and Alexis would have been the perfect starters. They both came on and they won the game - so it won't be overlooked but it will be forgiven that he didn't pick that XI.

"This game, though, is all about players. We can pin the blame on Ancelotti because Real Madrid got beat but he didn't make those challenges that gave away the penalties; he didn't miss the two or three chances that Benzema missed."

Salute

"I didn't agree with the team selection because Neymar isn't in great form at the moment, so I think Pedro should have played."

Terry Gibson

Goals from Neymar and Alexis Sanchez earned Barcelona a 2-1 victory over Real Madrid when the sides met earlier in the season and Hunter said that Martino must take plaudits for doing the double over Barca's main rivals.

But he added: "I wholly agree that he has almost got a thorn in his side that 'I'm going to do X, whether it's three players in midfield as he did against Valladolid' and I don't care what anybody else says including my scouts. I think that's a flaw.

"In this game picking Neymar was a mistake but bringing Pedro on when he did was exactly right.

"He said at the start of the season that 'I will not let my year be dogged by what I saw last year from afar when Real Madrid and Bayern Munich had their way with our players because they were physically and emotionally burned out'.

"Iniesta has not played enough for me this season but maybe Martino possibly knows better than me because look at him now.

"If what we are going to see is Iniesta as we've got now for the rest of the remaining nine games then Martino has got it right, so we salute him."

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Nevertheless doubt continues to remain over Martino's future aims and ambitions as Balague explained after giving his own assessment of the manager's tenure so far.

"His fault is not on this game, although there were some decisions you can criticise," he said.

"It is just the fact that he has made a team based in possession but not structure - so they keep the ball and wait for a moment when Iniesta or Messi makes the difference.

"It happened against Real Madrid, it didn't happen against Valladolid. That's not good enough coaching.

"In any case he's not exploiting this good result to say 'by the way, where's my contract or why don't you improve my contract or what's going to happen to me?'

"He's just ignoring that side of things and that's getting the club nervous because it feels like he's taken the decision to leave. Nobody knows for certain.

"The Argentina Federation this week will put a contract in front of him to replace Alejandro Sabella and if that's the case Barcelona are already preparing to replace him."