Martino: Barca won't be holding back

Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino insists he will not suppress his side's attacking instincts in Saturday's Clasico showdown against Real Madrid.

Gerardo Martino, Barcelona

Barca go into the match looking to get back to winning ways after seeing their 100 per cent start to the Primera Division season ended by last weekend's goalless draw against Osasuna, but will face a Madrid side who would like nothing more than to inflict a first defeat of the campaign on their bitter rivals.

And in Ronaldo, Bale and Angel Di Maria, Martino knows Carlo Ancelotti's men have the quality and speed in attack to cause Barca some serious damage if they are given the chance.

But far from looking to nullify Madrid's forwards by going on the defensive, Martino is determined to remain faithful to Barca's footballing philosophy.

He told reporters: "When a team has space and forwards like Ronaldo, Bale and Di Maria, you can leave yourself exposed, but we are Barca and we have to keep playing our game and taking risks, as always.

"We need to avoid losing the ball in the dangerous places and being hit on the counter by Madrid."

Having taken charge of Barca during the summer, this will be the first taste of arguably the biggest club match in the world for Martino - just like Madrid counterpart Ancelotti - but the former Paraguay coach is not daunted by the prospect.

"There are big Clasicos all over the world, but it's difficult to find one that generates so many expectations. I'm really looking forward to it and I want the same as all Barcelona fans, to play well and to win," Martino said.

The Argentinian also played down suggestions his side were favourites for the match.

Prior to this week, which saw Barca follow up their draw in Osasuna with a 1-1 Champions League tie against AC Milan in midweek, the Catalan giants had won nine of their Primera Division matches and also been victorious in their opening two matches in the Champions League.

That stunning start to the season is in contrast to Madrid, who have struggled to hit top gear under new boss Ancelotti, although they head to the Nou Camp only trailing leaders Barca by three points.

Martino said: "I don't think that in Clasicos there is a favourite. Both teams play their hands. The only thing that interests me is that Barca play a good game of football."



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