Martino record bears comparison with Barca's best

Thu Apr 3, 2014 5:28am EDT
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By Iain Rogers

MADRID (Reuters) - Barcelona have been beset by institutional problems during Gerardo Martino's first season in charge but his record after 50 games shows they are having little impact on the team's performance.

The Spanish champions, a point behind surprise leaders Atletico Madrid with seven games left, will be chasing a 38th win under the Argentine at home to bottom side Real Betis on Saturday to keep alive their chances of a fifth title in six years.

Martino's statistics bear comparison with Barca's greatest names and are remarkably similar to their most successful coach, Pep Guardiola, who won 14 of 19 trophies contested during a glittering four-year reign between 2008 and 2012.

Now at Bayern Munich, Guardiola also won 37 of his first 50 matches in charge of Barca's first team, with the same number of draws (8) and defeats (5).

Martino's side has scored 136 goals and conceded 37, while Guardiola's 2008-09 team, which won a treble of La Liga, King's Cup and Champions League, netted 133 and leaked 42.

Only Helenio Herrera has a superior record to Martino among former Barca coaches, with 40 wins, five draws and five losses in his first 50 matches in charge in the 1958-59 season.

"There is always room for improvement," Martino said after his 50th official game, Tuesday's 1-1 draw at home to Atletico in their Champions League quarter-final, first leg.

"I really liked the way we played and the continuity," the 51-year-old added. "Whenever they play like that I can do no more than head home feeling content."   Continued...

Members of the Barcelona team stretch during a training session in Abu Dhabi December 14, 2009. REUTERS/Fadi Al-Assaad