South American Football - Berti replaces Martino at Newell's

As Gerardo Martino packed his bags and flew to Spain on Thursday to take charge at Barcelona, his former assistant Alfredo Berti took over the first-team squad at Newell's Old Boys.

South American Football - Berti replaces Martino at Newell's

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Berti, like Martino a former Newell's player, had been in charge of the reserves and will make his debut as a first-team coach when the club defend their Argentine league title in the 2013/14 "Inicial" championship starting on Aug. 2.

"This is a tough challenge," Berti said when he was unveiled in Rosario on Wednesday following Martino's appointment by Spanish champions Barcelona on Tuesday.

Martino, Newell's coach for 18 months, steered them to the "Final" championship title last month and the Libertadores Cup semi-finals two weeks ago.

Newell's have been allowed to postpone their opening match of the season against Boca Juniors to Aug. 13 to give the squad a longer break after missing the better part of the off-season.

Berti said he would not make significant changes to the squad built by Martino although he will have new signings David Trezequet and Damian Manso, a midfielder returning to the club after eight years playing in Europe, Mexico and Ecuador.

"The system is the one that has been used for the last year and a half since they are tactics I like and the players and we (coaching staff) are convinced we mustn't change," Berti told reporters.

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