Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino defends decision to start Neymar and Lionel Messi on the bench against Atlético de Madrid
Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino has defended his decision to start Neymar and Lionel Messi on the bench against Atlético de Madrid on Saturday.
Messi was brought on at half-time, while Neymar played just 23 minutes, as Barça were held to a 0-0 draw at the Vicente Calderón.
After the game, Martino was adamant that he had little choice but to use the duo as substitutes and insists the decision to introduce Messi earlier than planned almost paid off.
"They weren't ready to start, any other coach would have done the same,” he said, as reported by Sky Sports.
"We were thinking he [Messi] would play less of the game than he did, but he looked sharp and created two chances. Atlético also made things uncomfortable with him.
"It's my job to take decisions like this and I think it was for the best.
"Neymar had a stomach problem before the Getafe game and that always makes you weaker.
"We know Messi scored two goals [against Getafe] but we shouldn't forget that he was inactive for the first 60 minutes."