The Liga champions have stumbled from one controversy to another in recent weeks, but their new manager and the players stay focused on results.
Head coach Quique Setien doesn’t anticipate Barcelona’s attention to waver over an integral run of matches despite a run of off-field controversies.
Barca confront Eibar on Saturday before seeing Napoli within their Champions League last-16 first leg in midweek and then taking on La Liga title competitions Real Madrid at El Clasico on March 1.
The coming program represents a make-or-break stretch in the season for Setien’s side, who are a point behind Madrid at the table.
Yet quite a few incidents from the pitch have overshadowed the first weeks of Setien’s tenure.
Director of soccer Eric Abidal indicated the players had been operating for past coach Ernesto Valverde before his January dismissal, prompting a powerful response from captain Lionel Messi.
Barca subsequently denied allegations made by the Spanish radio network Cadena SER this week that they hired a company to harm the image of important figures connected with the club, such as Messi, by dispersing negative messages on social networking platforms.
But Setien isn’t distracted, said ahead of this Eibar game: “You would think that it may affect us, but the fact is it is not like that.
“We are very focused on what we will need to focus on. We are focused on football matters, we’ve got a lot to concentrate on. We all know what goes on, but I can assure that it does not influence anything.
“We are focused on our goal, which is to win games, play well and enable the fans to enjoy themselves. Anything besides that doesn’t affect us.”
And Setien affirmed president Josep Maria Bartomeu had discussed the newest issue with senior players.
“Everything the president says is approved. He told us exactly the same as what he said anywhere,” he said. “I am not thinking about that anymore.”
Setien was reluctant to explore the clash with Napoli but was asked about Messi’s proposal in a broad Mundo Deportivo interview which Barca weren’t prepared to compete for the Champions League this year.
“There are things that I agree with and things that I am not in agreement with,” Setien stated. “In the last twenty years, we’ve won a great deal of Champions Leagues.
“We have got the exact same probability of winning as other teams have. There is no room for error. There are things we will need to attempt and improve and that we will need to do well. That’s clear.
“We’re unhappy with everything, but I think we are growing slowly and reaching a level which will permit us to compete, undoubtedly, with each team.”
Barca controversially signed Martin Braithwaite from Leganes this week, after long-term harms to Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele, and the new guy has gone straight into the squad to the Eibar game.
“He has come here with plenty of excitement and a great deal of desire,” Setien said of Braithwaite. “We hope he can help us a lot.”
Also in with the possibility of a first-team introduction is Barcelona B left-back Sergio Akieme, who joined the club from Rayo Vallecano in September.
The 22-year-old was called up to give cover for Junior Firpo after Jordi Alba injured his right adductor last weekend, possibly making the Spain global a doubt to confront Madrid.