Featured Matches
Previous
Aston Villa
Hull City
2
1
FT
Game Details
Tottenham Hotspur
Liverpool
0
3
FT
Game Details
Leicester City
Arsenal
1
1
FT
Game Details
AC Milan
Lazio
3
1
FT
Game Details
Villarreal
Barcelona
0
1
FT
Game Details
Real Sociedad
Real Madrid
4
2
FT
Game Details
Modena
Cittadella
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
SpVgg Greuther Furth
St Pauli
6:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Brest
AS Nancy Lorraine
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Rio Ave
Boavista
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
OFI Crete
Veria
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Hobro IK
FC Vestsjaelland
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Lucerne
FC Aarau
Postp
Game Details
Lanús
Olimpo de Bahía Blanca
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Arsenal de Sarandí
Banfield
10:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Tigre
Quilmes
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
La Equidad
Atlético Nacional
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Next
VillarrealVillarreal
BarcelonaBarcelona
0
1
FT
Game Details
 Posted by Dermot Corrigan
Nov 6, 2013

Mascherano plays down Messi concerns

Javier Mascherano has said that Lionel Messi’s current form is not due to him being played in a different position by new Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino.

Gerardo Martino has defended his star striker Lionel Messi.
Gerardo Martino has defended his star striker Lionel Messi.

Tomas: Barca changes

Messi has now gone over 300 Primera Division minutes without a goal, his longest barren run in over two years. While the player himself has suggested he is not quite 100 percent fit at the moment, some Catalan pundits have suggested that Martino’s tactical tweaks -- which included fielding Messi on the right wing recently against Real Madrid -- mean he is less involved in the play and therefore less likely to get on the scoresheet.

Mascherano told La Gazzetta dello Sport that there might be something in this, but he expected the decision had been just for that particular game.

"It is true that playing more to the right Messi can intervene less than before in the play," he said. "But that was just in the Clasico and was only a certain strategy from the coach."

The Argentine utility man, who is being used by Martino as a centre-back, followed the usual Barca club line in saying that this season’s more direct style of play did not mean the team was turning its back on its tiki-taka history.

"One stage has been closed and another opened," Mascherano said. "I do not believe that Tata is here to change things, but to look for alternatives, after so much time the opponents know how we play. So we cannot just keep playing in the same way."

Mascherano, 29, spent three seasons playing in midfield under Rafa Benitez at Liverpool and did not rule out teaming up again at some point in the future with the Spanish coach who is now at Napoli.

"I am a grateful person and I remember that Rafa took me from West Ham, where I did not play, and gave me confidence at Liverpool in a team full of great midfielders," he said. "I would love to work with him again someday and he knows it. But today I am at Barcelona and I am fine there. In the future, we will see."

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.