Offensive pressure is key for Barça, goalkeeper says

Sant Joan Despi, Spain, Aug 19 (EFE).- Returning to the aggressive attack that brought FC Barcelona 14 titles during the 2008-2012 tenure of coach Pep Guardiola is essential to realizing the club's lofty ambitions for this season, goalkeeper Victor Valdes said Monday.

"Pressure is vital for us. It's one of the secrets this team has had these last few years," the veteran keeper said after practice.

With the forwards' spending most of their time around the opponents' net, Barça's defensive line can stake out positions near midfield and create more opportunities on the counterattack, Valdes said.

The goalkeeper sought to soften comments made by teammate Xavi Hernandez on Sunday after defending champion Barcelona's 7-0 rout of Levante in the opening match of the La Liga season.

Hernandez told reporters the team had devoted little time to tactics during practice last season.

"I have spoken with Xavi and he told me that he was misinterpreted," Valdes said. "What he wanted to say was that, last year, we lived through an atypical unfortunate situation due to the illness of the coach (cancer-stricken Tito Vilanova) and we were unable to work on tactical things and other aspects as much as we would have liked."

Besides reinvigorating the Guardiola-era offense, new manager Gerardo "Tata" Martino has implemented a shift from zone defense to man-to-man coverage on set pieces, the goalkeeper said, calling the change a welcome one.

"I'm of the opinion that, on set pieces, each one takes his responsibility and that way, the goalkeeper has more freedom," Valdes said.