Football

Barcelona boss bemoans lack of intensity

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Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino has criticised his side for not showing enough intensity and determination in the first-half of their 2-1 Champions League loss away to Ajax.

The Dutch champions went into the game second from bottom of Group H on four points and deservedly went 2-0 up before half-time thanks to goals from Thulani Serero and Danny Hoesen. 

Ajax left-back Joel Veltman fouled Neymar in the box four minutes after the restart, resulting in Frank De Boer's side being reduced to 10 men and Xavi scoring a penalty for the Spanish champions to make the last 40 minutes edgy.

However, the hosts held on for the crucial three points which leaves them on seven points -  just one point behind AC Milan who eliminated Celtic 0-3 in the other group game.

Martino was quoted by Goal.com:  "We lacked intensity to play the game, Ajax came out very strong in the first half.

"In the second half the game was something else and more like a typical Barcelona match.

"We have to reflect a little tougher, to learn why we played with a different intensity. We cannot afford to play the first half like today."

The 51-year-old manager was also upset by the lack of cutting-edge play shown by his side as they failed to turn ball possession into chances in the final third against an Ajax side holding on for dear life.

"We have to do with more possession on the ball, there were times when the opponent played one-on-one and we had no problems there."

"We lacked mobility at times and accuracy with the ball, what we have to change is firmly not to repeat our first-half performance," he added.

The first half performance by the Catalan giants also suggests that the club could rue not strengthening during the summer with the club's defence looking as weak as ever. They could struggle against tougher opposition in the later stages of the competition.

Veteran defender and captain Carlos Puyol was played as right-back instead of his familiar role at centre-back for the game due to injuries, and truly showed his ripe age of 35 as he was overrun by a potent Ajax attack.

 

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Topics:
Football
UEFA Champions League
Ajax
Barcelona

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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