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The side have observed their kind stutter alongside an uncharacteristically bad run from their star man.

The generally prolific Messi has failed to score in six of the last seven matches and has been a peripheral figure in Sunday’s 2-0 Clasico loss to Real Madrid .

That uncharacteristically unproductive run of form for Messi has coincided with Barca losing top spot in La Liga, being pumped from the Copa del Rey and being held to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie with Napoli.

However, speaking before Saturday’s home game with Real Sociedad, Setien promised to be completely unconcerned by Messi’s obvious recession.

“I do not care that he did not score lately,” said Setien. “If he scored it’d be better, but it’s never bothered me.

“It could happen to Leo or anyone. He’s having chances and that’s the important thing, that opportunities are generated.

“He’s been scoring goals for 14 years, if he has a period where he scores less it isn’t important.”

Setien is reluctant to place too much importance on the current Clasico defeat.

The reigning champions have come under even closer scrutiny after assistant coach Eder Sarabia’s expletive-laden outburst during the match, which Setien admitted was”somewhat embarrassing”.

With pressure building on the coach’s shoulders, the trip of a Real Sociedad side enjoying a six-match winning streak, including a Copa del Rey semi-final victory, presents an important challenge for Setien, who’s nonetheless upbeat.

“I’m calm because I know that we will confront the match having got over the [Real Madrid] defeat,” he said, with Barca a stage behind a Madrid team who don’t play until Sunday.

“There are no sequels of this Clasico. We’re conscious that we created seven scoring opportunities, which is a considerable number. That defeat won’t affect us.

“I understand it is extremely tough for Barca and Madrid to win everything before the end.

“The league is extremely complicated, it’s extremely tricky to win the games against any team. We’re motivated to maintain the pace we would like.”

On the topic of this under-fire Sarabia, Setien stated there was no demand for his helper to change his ways, but conceded he should moderate his speech.

“He’ll be as he always was,” said Setien. “He simply has to control how he expresses himself a little, but he will keep his personality and that is it.”

Setien will be without Arthur, who have suffered an ankle injury, but the coach doesn’t know how long that the midfielder will be out for.

“He’s pain, some distress, and we must see how he evolves together with the treatment,” stated Setien.