Pique never said Barca were slaves - Dos Santos

The 23-year-old Mexican has defended his Blaugrana teammate, who said they were "slaves to tiki-taka". The midfielder says the Spaniard's words have been "misinterpreted"
Barcelona midfielder Jonathan dos Santos has defended his team-mate Gerard Pique, who said they had been "slaves to tiki-taka".

The 23-year-old Mexico international says too much has been made of the 26-year-old's comments, arguing that his side have benefited from making slight tweaks to the system.

"He has grown up here at Barcelona, with Barcelona’s philosophy, and the team has always played with that philosophy," Dos Santos told Esports Cope.

"At the moment, it is true that, maybe, as people have already seen, there are a few more long balls, and not always playing it short, so people think Barca have changed, but I do not think there is a big difference.

“The team is still playing the same way. It is true that the boss is asking us for what we lost a little last year, which was that intensity in pressing opponents, and to be more direct."

Dos Santos also revealed that he was close to leaving Camp Nou over the summer but the arrival of new boss Tata Martino persuaded him to stay.

“I almost had both feet outside of Barca,” he continued. “I had everything almost finalised with Real Sociedad but in the end, with Tata’s arrival, I stayed.

“You need a lot of patience to succeed at Barca. Players start to stand out at 24 or 25. I can play here, I have the game for it, but I need to work and learn from my team-mates.

"My dream is to succeed at the best team in the world. It is difficult to make it into the first team, but I do not want to drop that dream.”