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Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Messi on the right - Barcelona winning tactical change for Atletico clash

Messi on the right - Barcelona ponder tactical change for Atletico clash

Lionel Messi could start on the right against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday as Barcelona boss Gerardo Martino ponders a change of tactics ahead of his side's Champions League quarter-final second leg at the Vicente Calderon.

Barca were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Atleti in last week's first meeting at Camp Nou and have been unable to beat Simeone's side in four competitive matches this term.

Messi has featured in all of those but has failed to score in 341 minutes against Atleti stretching back to last season.

With Barca's European hopes hanging on Wednesday's second leg, coaching staff at the Catalan club have been analysing the side's recent games against the Rojiblancos for tactical solutions ahead of their trip to the Calderon.

One of the possibilities is to field Messi out on the right, the position where he started his Camp Nou career before moving inside under Pep Guardiola in 2010.

Martino tried the system in training on Monday, with Cesc Fabregas in the false nine role, Neymar on the left and Andres Iniesta in midfield alongside Xavi and Sergio Busquets.

Barca's best results away from home this season have come when the emphasis has been placed on possession and Martino is therefore keen to accommodate all four of his Spain midfielders.

Iniesta, who will be making his 500th appearance for the Blaugrana, is more effective in a deeper role, while summer signing Neymar has looked less impressive on the right in recent games and would take up his natural position on the left.

Messi, who has scored 20 goals against Atleti but has seen his influence restricted this term, would then return to the right, where he also started in the 2-1 Clasico win for Martino's men at Camp Nou earlier this season.

Having worn their yellow and red 'Senyera' strip in the last two trips to the Calderon (1-1 in the Spanish Supercopa in August and 0-0 in La Liga in January), Barca have also decided to wear black on Wednesday to avoid any possible colour clash with the home side.


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