Setien admits his assistant wrong to slam Barca players

Madrid (AFP) –


Quique Setien admitted on Friday his assistant Eder Sarabia was wrong in the way he lambasted Barcelona's players with a series of foul-mouthed rants during last weekend's Clasico.

Spanish television programme Vamos showed Sarabia making a number of angry outbursts, in which Antoine Griezmann, Gerard Pique and Nelson Semedo were among those targetted for criticism by Setien's assistant coach.

Barca were beaten 2-0 by Real Madrid and Sarabia's antics on the bench have caused a stir in the Spanish media, with some reports claiming the players were unimpressed.

Setien told the newspaper El Periodico on Thursday he had apologised to the players and when asked about the issue in a press conference on Friday, he added: "This topic doesn't need too much attention, the only thing he has done wrong is the way he has expressed himself, which I don't like and I want to make that clear.

"It is normal to shout on the pitch, it is normal to warn the players, to communicate and to demonstrate your character in this way, I love that and that doesn't worry me.

"What I am worried about is the way it happens. We have apologised because there are a number of words that I understand should not be used when you represent a club like this.

"For the rest, everyone accepts that a coach and his assistant shout and the players accept that as well."

The loss to Madrid has put the pressure back on Barcelona, who are now a point behind in La Liga ahead of a tricky game at home to Real Sociedad on Saturday.

"I have no problem with the players," Setien said. "The players are taking everything with an extraordinary attitude. Some give us their opinion because we ask for it but they are clear about everyone's role."

Real Madrid play away at Real Betis on Sunday and Setien is confident there will be plenty of twists during the run-in.

"I think it will be very difficult for the two leaders to win all their games until the end of the season," he said.

"The league is very complicated and it takes a lot to win the games, not only for us but for Madrid too.

"We're fine, we are motivated to keep pace by winning all the time but sometimes you can slip up."

Barcelona confirmed on Friday that Arthur Melo has ankle injury and will miss the game against Real Sociedad, who play at Camp Nou after beating Mirandes on Wednesday to reach their first Copa del Rey final in 32 years.