Neymar happy with Barcelona rotation
Neymar says he fully accepts Gerardo Martino’s policy of rotating his Barcelona stars early in the season.
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New Barca coach Martino has rotated throughout his midfield and attack so far this season, with World Cup winners Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta among those benched as the Argentine aims have his squad full of energy when the business end of the campaign comes next spring.
The 60 million euro summer signing has started most games recently, but had looked upset when not used at all during the recent 2-0 La Liga win at Almeria. However he told Catalan channel TV3 that he had no complaints at all with Martino’s policy.
“It is a good system,” Neymar said. “Everyone has the right to rest so as not to get injured. The most important is that the team is in good condition -- there are great players and it can be done. Everyone has their job on the pitch and is asked for their full commitment.”
Meanwhile, Alexis Sanchez says he is benefiting from the slightly more direct approach taken by the team under Martino this season.
The former Newells' Old Boys boss's attempts to introduce a more direct style has been criticised by some in Catalonia as a break with the tiki-taka style that brought such success under previous coaches Pep Guardiola and Tito Vilanova.
But the Chile international told Mundo Deportivo that, as an attacker, he was enjoying receiving the ball before defences were properly set.
“It is better for a forward,” Alexis said. “Last year sometimes we passed the ball a lot, on occasions too much, and the forwards found ourselves with two or three defenders to get past. Now, it is different, with quick counter-attacks. There is always a one-on-one and we get into the penalty area more often.”
The former Udinese player -- now in his third season at the Camp Nou and the target of some criticism from Barca fans during his previous two -- said he was feeling more confident under Martino’s guidance.
“Confidence you get from the coach,” Sanchez said. “If he tells you to take people on and to keep going forward it is good for me, as I like one-on-ones.
“I have said before that at Barcelona I had to start playing football again. In Italy I was always going one-on-one, going past one, two or three players and shooting. Here, if you lose the ball, it is noted, everyone sees you in the stadium, as the team is not used to losing the ball. In Italy I lost one or two balls and it was no big deal. Here a move must end in a goal or a shot off the post. But I am used to it now.”
Alexis admitted that this expectation means he sometimes passes to Lionel Messi, rather than going for goal himself.
“It depends on each player’s position,” he said. “I can decide to go on and score myself, but if I make the wrong decision and do not pass it to him, it is a move which depends on me. That’s because I know that, if I pass it to him, he will go past one or two [opponents], and the move will end in a goal, as he is the best in the world. You need to know when to choose. That depends on me.”