Martino calls on Barca not to get distracted
Barcelona boss Gerardo Martino has encouraged his side not to get distracted by off-field matters as they prepare for their final game of the year away to Getafe on Sunday.
It has been a busy week in the Catalan capital as the club were ordered by a judge to hand over the contracts which brought Neymar to the club, while it was announced that Barca were one of seven Spanish clubs the European Commission were looking into due to alleged illegal state aid.
Lionel Messi then caused further controversy on Friday when he said the club's vice-president Javier Faus "didn't know anything about football."
Martino waved off questions about Messi's comments, but is hoping the controversy off the field will endeavour an even greater team spirit amongst his players.
"Personally, what bothers me is how the team play. I am not used to distracting myself with these questions that don't have anything to do with football," he said.
"I want to concentrate on what matters more to the team; who is playing better, which team wins and the players that are available for the next match.
"We need to come together and work to be stronger on the pitch as a group. If we can do that then what happens on the outside isn't going to affect us."
Martino has a number of selection problems ahead of the Getafe game as the suspended Neymar and injured Xavi Hernandez have joined Messi and Victor Valdes on the sidelines.
However, Dani Alves does return to the squad for the first time in a month.
With Barca only leading La Liga on goals scored ahead of Atletico Madrid, the Catalans could be knocked off top spot for the first time this calendar year should they fail to match Atleti's result at home to Levante.
And Martino is keen to remain on top as a confidence boost heading into 2014.
"I think it is very important to finish the year not only in first place, but also with a solid performance.
"I hope our football will continue to improve with respect to the last four matches.
"I think it is important to not only return from the holidays in good physical shape, but also with confidence."