BARCELONA

Barcelona: Setién speaks to media after Messi, Abidal spat

Barcelona coach Quique Setién spoke to the media in the wake of Lionel Messi's public war of words with sporting director Éric Abidal.

Barcelona: Setién speaks to media after Messi, Abidal spat
Alejandro García EFE

Barcelona coach Quique Setién spoke to the press ahead of Thursday evening's Copa del Rey quarter-final against Athletic Club (San Mamés, kick-off 21:00 CET, live commentary on AS English) but much of the press attention was focused on the crisis that's currently unfolding at the club, after Lionel Messi lashed out on Tuesday evening on Instagram at Barça sporting director Éric Abidal, who had criticised Xavi and Ernesto Valverde and also said certain players were not working hard enough.

Here's what Setién had to to say:

Copa del Rey tie against Athletic:

I think it'll be an exciting game. The two teams are going out with the aim of winning the tie, with their [footballing] arguments to be better than their rivals. It'll be a tight, hard-fought game. At a lot of points [in the game] we'll have the initiative. At others we'll be under pressure.

Off-the-field issues at Barcelona:

The things you [the reporter] have mentioned are significant, but they don't affect me and I'll try to make sure they affect the players as little as possible. We spoke about the [Messi-Abidal] issue for one minute. We have to focus on the game; that's our chief concern. I'm interested in the football; everything outside of that is something I can't control.

Messi's response to Abidal:

This is a situation that affects you [the media], but not me. I focus on the football. All I'm interested in is giving my players the tools they need to win. There are problems in every club in the world. There are things I won't be able to control. Speak to me about football; the rest doesn't interest me. The rest doesn't help me in my job.

Ousmane Dembélé's latest injury:

We're waiting on that and we'll talk about it. First we'll see the precise diagnosis of the problem he's got and the time he'll be out for. Once we know we'll take decisions. Him coming back was really great and now that's a problem, but all my life I've had problems and what you need to do is look for solutions. We'll see if we can sign or not, we'll look for a way to give the team the consistency and solidity it needs to win games. We'll always look on the bright side. I said I wouldn't stop being happy and this isn't going to take my happiness away from me.

Small squad:

We'll always go out with 11, that's for certain. The team will always be competitive.

Messi:

He has the experience and the know-how to decide what he has to do. I'm not going to tell Messi how to live his life - or anyone else, for that matter. My job is to make sure they come into work happy. The rest isn't down to me.

The atmosphere in the squad:

We're bringing in games to have some fun and have a laugh. That's the atmosphere in the squad. It won't always be like this because defeats have an impact. The squad is up for it. Today, instead of talking about the things you say are happening, show your readers the photos of the games, so they can see we're happy.