Gerardo Martino’s policy of rotating the Barcelona squad will help prevent the team suffering a similar slump to the one that wrecked last season’s Champions League campaign, midfielder Cesc Fabregas has claimed.
Under Martino’s predecessor as coach, Tito Vilanova, Barça struggled past Milan and Paris Saint-Germain into the last four of the Champions League last season before they were beaten by the eventual winners, Bayern Munich, 7-0 on aggregate.
Martino has implemented a policy of resting some of his top performers for La Liga games, including Fabregas and fellow Spain midfielders Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets.
“What happened last year was a lesson,” Fabregas said in an interview with Spanish sports daily Marca. “We were in a mess and really weak towards the end of the season. From February on, we were having to force things. We were lacking in bite at the time when everything was decided.
“Tata [Martino] is calculating the playing time really well. That will help on a physical level and in terms of competition in the squad because nobody knows who will play.”
Unbeaten Barça have started this season in impressive form, winning all eight of their domestic league outings and both Champions League games, while also beating Atletico Madrid to win the Spanish Super Cup.
On the players’ return from international duty next week, they travel to Milan and then host arch-rivals Real Madrid in Spain’s El Clasico on 26 October.