Martino: “Leo is ready”

Martino: “Leo is ready”

FC Barcelona coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino has confirmed in his press conference that Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (26) is finally set to make his return against Getafe CF in the Copa del Rey’s quarterfinal. Messi has been absent since he suffered a hamstring injury during the league game against Real Betis. Read more from Tata’s press conference after the jump.

Martino started by assuring everyone that: “Leo is feeling good. He has been training without any problems and is ready to play”. Nevertheless, Martino did not specify whether Messi will start the game tomorrow. “Maybe’s he’s lacking match sharpness, but being Leo I don’t think that’ll be a problem”, he argued. Leo recently impressed in the open-training session.

“Messi gives everybody confidence and makes us better. Everyone feels better with him alongside them. At the decisive moments, having Messi and the whole group fit is the best thing that could happen. This way we’ve always got more options”, Martino continued. With Messi’s return, Martino will have three in-from forwards to choose from with Alexis Sanchez, Pedro and Neymar Jr. all impressing in recent games. The boss also stressed that the team must learn from their first 20 minutes in the league game against Getafe a few weeks back, and should look to replicate the impressive performance during the remaining 70 minutes of that game tomorrow.

Martino also emphasized the importance of focusing on winning tomorrow’s game in order to be mentally ready against Atlético Madrid this weekend and to avoid worrying about the cup’s second leg. “There is no room for mistakes tomorrow to avoid thinking about how to overcome Getafe in the second leg before the game against Atlético next week. We must isolate ourselves from the environment and focus solely on the game tomorrow.”

Dani Alves, Marc Bartra and Xavi have recently suffered from illness and injury and will not be in the match squad. Martino justified this move by saying that: “Bartra had some physical problems last game. He is fine again now, but we are not taking any risks. The same goes for Xavi”.

Martino also explained that Alves will need some work before he is ready to play again. “Dani Alves has only just recovered from flu,so he needs some more training before he will return”. The boss concluded the conference by confirming that José Manuel Pinto will start between the posts for tomorrow’s game.