Roberto Martinez: How to play against Barcelona

Barcelona are the best team in the world, though Manchester United are fresher and have the experience you need to stop them.

Compare it to Spain in the World Cup. They need the ball, to keep possession and suck you in. There were two styles against them, the South American style with high pressure and one-v-one everywhere, and then the European, which is to drop, defend really deep and don't give them space in front of the 18-yard box.

Switzerland did that and beat them, though nine out of 10 times they would lose. Paraguay and Chile were very unlucky against them.

If you give them the ball it's tough because they've got outstanding players in one-v-one situations and then they can hurt you. Hernandez, Rooney and Valencia are the key players. Chicharito stretches the team and if anything the two centre-halves of Barcelona can be exposed. It will be a fascinating game.

Barcelona have been playing that style for 20 years because they are brought up that way. With Messi you need to double up, use two players all the time. He will play in front of Vidic and Ferdinand, then just drop to attract one of the two of them forward, so the wide players Pedro and Villa can make that diagonal run behind all the time.

So you need to defend with three and man-mark Messi. He is the only one in the world who can get the ball and go past five players. Not even Ronaldo, because he is different, it's over five yards. With Messi it's over 25 yards. So you have to stop the space but more than that, stop the service to Messi.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'