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Martino concerned over Barca road woes

Updated: 2014-03-10 07:11
By Agence France-Presse in Madrid ( China Daily)

Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino admitted he is worried about his side's shocking form on the road after it slipped to a 1-0 defeat at Valladolid on Saturday.

The Catalans have won just once in five away games in La Liga in 2014, and also lost their last game on the road at Real Sociedad.

"What is worrying is that at the stage of the season when the league is decided, we have taken no points from the last two away games," said Martino.

The Argentine has rotated his squad constantly throughout the season with the idea his players would be well rested for the final few decisive months of the season.

"All the measures and care we took the first part of the season was done with the idea of arriving in the final part of the season in good shape," he said.

"But it is obvious at the moment those preparations are not having the desired effect.

"The players have played fewer minutes and are less fatigued than in previous years and we expected this to be the time of the year when we hit our best form.

"Evidently, based on the last two away games, that is not what has happened."

The loss will leave Barca four points behind Real Madrid should its bitter rival beat Levante at home on Sunday.

Real and Barcelona meet in two weeks at Santiago Bernabeu, and Martino said anything less than a win would all but end his team's title chances.

"Even if we had won or drawn today we would have to have gone to the Bernabeu to try to win the game because we are behind in the league," said the coach.

First up for Martino's men, though, is Manchester City in the Champions League at Camp Nou on Wednesday.

Barca holds a 2-0 lead from the first leg of the last-16 tie, but midfielder Xavi said the club will have to improve greatly if it is to be sure of finishing off the job against Manuel Pellegrini's men.