Spanish LeagueTuesday, April 15, 2014
Barca Captain Puyol defends Martino
BARCELONA — While Argentine coach Gerardo Martino is being blamed by the media and fans for Barcelona’s apparent decline, team captain Carles Puyol defended him yesterday. It is generally believed that he will leave the club at the end of the season.
“What is clear is that we are a team and it is all our fault. You cannot find one person responsible, but it is easier to attack one coach than 25 players. We are all behind him (Martino) and he behind us. None of us, nor Martino, like the recent results we have had. It’s been a hard reverse, but we have tomorrow’s King’s Cup final to be able to turn around our poor form against Real Madrid. If we win that title, it will change a lot,” Puyol said.
He recalled that Martino’s contract has another year to run and that the team has confidence in him. “For me he is a good coach,” he said.
Puyol organized a press conference “to show face” after a week in which Barcelona were knocked out of the European Champions League and lost three points in the first division.
Puyol, who is leaving at the end of the season due to health problems, also said it was wrong to throw doubts at Leonel Messi’s play. “Messi is one of the principal players responsible for the brilliant period we have had. “He has given us a lot, is giving us a lot and will continue to do so,” he said.
In the First Division yesterday, Athletic Bilbao striker Aritz Aduriz scored goals at the start of each half to help the Basque club beat Málaga 3-0, strengthening its hold on Spain’s final Champions League berth. Bilbao dominated the one-sided match at its New San Mames Stadium, with Málaga never able to counter the hosts’ up-tempo attack.
The win restored Bilbao’s hold on fourth place. Sevilla was left six points behind with five rounds to play. Malaga remained in 11th place at seven points above the relegation zone.