Neymar should score more goals, says Martino

The Barcelona boss has challenged the Brazilian to improve his strike rate in the absence of Lionel Messi but has is delighted with his all-round contribution
Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino has challenged Neymar to improve his goal tally in the continued absence of Lionel Messi.

The Brazilian has managed just five goals in 20 competitive appearances for the Blaugrana since his €57 million move from Santos during the summer, though he has notched nine assists.

With Messi still sidelined with a hamstring problem, Martino has called on Neymar to step up his strike rate despite his all-round contribution to the side - although he acknowledges the Brazilian is unlikely to match his team-mate's scoring record.

"He should score more goals than he has so far," the Barca boss said.

"We don't analyse any player simply by the goals he scores and lays on - it is a question of all facets of a player's game.

"But at the moment the only question about Neymar is his finishing.

"Neymar is a player who fills all facets of play. He's not a goalscorer with the characteristics of Leo, but he'll give us the same sort of goal return as Pedro, Alexis [Sanchez] and Cesc [Fabregas]."

Barcelona take on Celtic on Tuesday knowing a positive result will see them top the group and Martino has urged his side to fight for the win following a disappointing recent run of results.

"We have to finish first in the group. We must get away from the idea of a comfortable game - every game is uncomfortable, and has consequences," said the Argentine.

"What we need is to be precise, we imagine we'll play a game 30 metres from goal and we'll have to be precise to avoid the counterattacks which Celtic will surely use."