September 18, 2014
Martino warns Barca has no excuses for failure
Barcelona cannot use the club's off-field woes or injuries to key players as excuses for failure to win silverware, coach Gerardo Martino has said.
The Spanish champions were slapped with a transfer ban by FIFA this week over a breach of rules on the use of foreign players aged under 18, the latest in a series of problems that have disrupted their season.
Goalkeeper Víctor Valdés has been ruled out for the rest of the campaign after sustaining a serious knee injury and centre back Gerard Piqué will be out until the end of the month with a hip problem.
"There are no possible or valid excuses," Martino told a news conference ahead of Saturday's La Liga game at home to bottom side Real Betis.
"Neither the injuries nor the non-football problems," added the Argentine, in his first season in charge at the Nou Camp.
"If we win we will have had a good season and if we don't win we won't have had a good season.
"We are the first to reject excuses and to accept the situation for what it is."
Chasing a fifth La Liga title in six years, Barca are a point behind leaders Atletico Madrid and two ahead of third-placed Real Madrid with seven games left.
They are locked at 1-1 in their Champions League quarter-final tie against Atletico after Tuesday's first leg and play the return at the Calderon in Madrid on Wednesday.
They still have a chance of repeating the treble of trophies they claimed under Pep Guardiola in 2009 and play the final of the King's Cup against Real on April 16.
Barca have said they will appeal the FIFA ban, which covers the next two transfer windows, and that they will push ahead with plans to buy at least a goalkeeper to replace the departing Valdeé and a centre back in the close season.
Martino appeared confident it would be overturned.
"Let those responsible for resolving this issue resolve it," he said.
"There is a lot still to do and a lot still to be said. We are assuming something is fact that perhaps may not happen."