The prospect of Barcelona playing long ball football looked highly unlikely a few years ago under the management of Guardiola. Even when faced with extremely defensive opposition, Barcelona struck with their philosophy of passing the ball in order to open the opposition.

New manager Gerardo Martino, though, has brought in different ideas since taking over the club in the summer. Barcelona were recently extremely frustrated in the Champions league match against Ajax. This resulted in the team playing a couple of long balls, which has come under intense criticism from the fans and media.

Martino, though, has said that it is essential that the team has different styles of play and he has attributed that in the past Barcelona also played long passes. He has recalled how Rafael Marquez played long passes during the regime of Frank Rijkaard. He has acknowledged that Barcelona achieved footballing excellence under the regime of Guardiola and that it will be very hard to match it. However, he is just happy that Barcelona have a different style of approaching the game rather than just the tiki-taka style.

Martino has done exceedingly well since taking over from Tito Vilanova in the summer. He has got the club to the top of the table with a perfect record.

"FC Barcelona recently reached footballing excellence and therefore the fans are more demanding. I understand that they didn't like the first half, that they weren't satisfied. But they should be fairly satisfied with the second half. We don't want to change the team's style of play, but I saw (former Barca defender Rafael) Marquez make long passes too five years ago. It doesn't mean we're changing the style if we add alternatives to our play," said the Barcelona manager. Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick against Ajax in the 4-0 win.