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Apr 11, 2014

Martino: Granada win can ease UCL pain

Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino says a win in Saturday's La Liga game at Granada will allow his side to erase some of the lingering pain from crashing out of the Champions League quarterfinals.

Koke gave Atletico an early lead against Barcelona.
Koke's early goal in the second leg against Barcelona was enough to send Atletico through.

• Ledwith: Atleti expose flaws
• Tomas: Barca crash out

Los Blaugranas were below-par as they lost Wednesday's second leg 1-0 to Atletico Madrid, going out 2-1 on aggregate and falling before the last four of the competition for the first time in seven years.

The Argentine coach told a news conference on Friday that his side was still feeling pretty low after the elimination, but needed to bounce back quickly.

"There is no team which is totally recovered just after being knocked out of the Champions League," Martino said. "You cannot be in top spirits just by magic. But it has happened, there is nothing else to do but think about the game that is coming next.

"There is no time for crying about things, although some defeats are very painful. A win against Granada would allow us to move on a bit from the result in the Champions League."

Lionel Messi's peripheral performance at the Estadio Vicente Calderon dominated much of the postmatch analysis, with the data showing the attacker had covered much less distance during the game than usual.

Martino said he was not overly concerned by such statistics, pointing out that Messi had been in position for [and missed] some clear chances to score.

"That Leo runs 10, 15 or 20 kilometres does not concern me," he said. "I am concerned by him having to get on balls which allow him to define a game.

"It is one thing to create chances, another thing not to. There is always a need to hold someone responsible, but there is not just one person."

Barca have further injury problems in defence for the Granada game with the club announcing that Marc Bartra -- their last fit specialist centre-back -- has been left out of the travelling squad due to a hamstring problem.

"Bartra finished the game with a physical issue he had picked up, but we do not know for sure what it is," Martino continued. "He did some physical work yesterday and did not feel good today at training. We will wait on his recovery, and we preferred for him not to travel to Granada."

Either Adriano Correia or Alex Song will therefore have to play out of position at centre-back against Granada, with Martino also likely to freshen up his midfield and attack, with Pedro Rodriguez, Alexis Sanchez and Sergi Roberto among those who could come in.

Barca go into the game currently second in Primera Division table, just a point behind leaders Atletico Madrid, and with what on paper appears to be a more comfortable run-in.

"This is a really vital game for Barcelona," Martino added. "This team knows what is in play tomorrow in Granada."

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