Tata Martino was furious yesterday watching his team lose their perfect start to the season after only managing to draw 0-0 away to Osasuna yesterday evening.
Barcelona were in complete charge of the game up in Pamplona, and had by far the vast majority of chances to get on the score sheet yet just could not get the ball over the line allowing Osasuna to become the first team in a couple of years able to keep a clean sheet against the Catalan giants.
The draw was the first points Barca has dropped following nine straight wins that had then level on points with Atletico Madrid who were also enjoying a perfect start to the La Liga season.
When talking to the press after the match Martino said: “The draw is insufficient. We should have won, given the chances we created. We weren’t accurate in front of goal.
“(But) I’m pleased with the team’s performance.
“I would be concerned if there had been a decline in our performance. We tied because that’s how it had to be. I don’t think our level has dropped.
“In the first half we were missing that final pass. We were off by centimetres.
“In the second half we had four clear chances and gave the opposition no opportunity to counter-attack.
“Osasuna are a dangerous team on the break, but they did not create anything of danger.”
The Champions League clash midweek at the San Siro against AC Milan could also have been on the mind of the Argentinian coach as he rested several key players ahead of that match, and also this season’s first Classico at the Nou Camp next Saturday
Messi started the game on the bench after missing two games for Barcelona along with the recent World Cup qualifiers for Argentina due to a thigh injury, while also absent from the game were Dani Alves, Gerrard Pique and Alexis Sanchez.
Messi came on with 14 minutes still remaining in the match but failed to convert the two half-chances that came his way.
“We were planning on Messi playing between 20 to 25 minutes,” Martino said afterwards. “I wanted to give Leo 20 minutes ahead of the games against AC Milan and Real Madrid.”
Carlos Puyol started for the first time in seven months with the 35-year-old captain looking as though he had not missed a game.
The defender had undergone knee surgery earlier in the year, and agreed with the coaches comments saying: “We knew it was going to be a tough game,” he said. “It’s a difficult ground to go to, and we had our chances and controlled the game. We lacked that final pass.
“We’ve picked up another point, and, despite going for all three, it wasn’t to be. We controlled the game but weren’t that sharp in the final third.”
When asked about the visit from real Madrid on Saturday the Barca captain said: “It’s some way off. What you have to do is take one game at a time.
Now we’re thinking about the game (against Milan) on Tuesday.”
It was not all bad news for Barcelona though as the only other team that had a perfect start to the season Atletico Madrid lost 1-0 away to Espanyol thanks to an own goal by Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois who when going for a cross from Juan Fuentes saw the ball bounce off his arm and go into the net.
The 54th minute goal was enough to give the Catalans the win which puts Diego Simeone’s side second in the table one point behind Barcelona, and now just two points ahead of Real Madrid who won at home 2-0 against Malaga.