Gerardo Martino reticent over future
Gerardo Martino has again refused to reveal whether he wants to stay at Barcelona next season, saying he is currently focused on ensuring his side keep fighting for this season's title for as long as possible.
The Argentine coach is expected by most Catalan pundits to leave the Camp Nou club by mutual consent this summer, with reports claiming current Celta Vigo and former Barca B coach Luis Enrique have already been lined up to take over.
Speaking ahead of Saturday's La Liga game at home to Getafe Martino told reporters that he had become used to speculation over his future, and viewed his nine months so far at Barca as a learning experience.
"This is what comes with being coach of a club like Barcelona," he said. "You are subject to all kinds of analysis depending on each game or each result, whether criticism or praise. I have learnt a lot this year, it has been a different experience from the rest of my career, but will be useful for the future. You learn in all places, but this is a place where you can learn a lot, and very quickly."
Martino's first season at Barca has seen club president Sandro Rosell resign, a criminal investigation launched into the Neymar transfer, the team fail in all three major competitions inside 10 days in April, and most recently former coach Tito Vilanova die from cancer.
"We have never used as an excuse the problems we have had during the season, which obviously have been many," he said. "There were a lot of football problems -- injuries -- but also others. The season has not seemed long, but time passing slower since the week we lost to Atletico Madrid [in the Champions League], Granada [in La Liga] and Real Madrid [in the Copa del Rey final]."
Barca face currently Liga leaders Atletico at home on the final day of the season and still have a slim mathematical chance of taking the title. Saturday's visitors to the Camp Nou Getafe also have a lot of to play for at the moment, sitting just one point and two places above the relegation zone.
Martino said his players having come from behind to win their two most recent league games against Athletic Bilbao and Villarreal showed a fighting spirit remained within the squad.
"I believe our needs and their needs come together," Martino said. "One team is battling to escape relegation and another to keep fighting for the title while it is mathematically possible. We have come through two difficult games, two difficult moments, so we still have a chance even though we do not depend on ourselves."
Martino has called up 18 players for the game with fit-again Isaac Cuenca not included, and Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique, Neymar and Jordi Alba still out injured.