June 30 (UPI) — The relationship between FC Barcelona manager Quique Setien and his Spanish soccer squad has grown tense amid the team’s slip from the top of the La Liga standings.
Sources informed ESPN and Catalan radio station RAC1 of the tension between Setien and Barcelona players. Sources told Spain’s MARCA and AS newspaper that Setien had an argument with players in the dressing room after Barcelona had a 2-2 draw with Celta Vigo on Saturday in Vigo, Spain.
Setien was hired in January and is signed until June 2022. He replaced fired manager Ernesto Valverde, who won La Liga twice, the Copa del Rey and the Spanish Super Cup in three seasons with the club.
Barcelona’s latest struggles have led to rumors that the manager is in danger of losing his job.
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu held a meeting with players on Sunday after Barcelona’s draw. The tie allowed Real Madrid to snatch first place in the league standings after the Barcelona rival’s weekend win.
Messi appeared to brush off instruction from one of the Barcelona coaches during the match. Barcelona striker Luis Suarez was asked about the loss after the game and told reporters “You’ll have to ask the coaches.”
“In reality it is true that there are always controversies, as in life, and it is normal that there are differences,” Setien told reporters when asked about the rift.
Bartomeu met Monday with Setien. Barcelona battles Atletico Madrid at 4 p.m. EDT Tuesday at Camp Nou in Barcelona.
“Games with Atletico Madrid are tremendously tight and difficult,” Setien said. “They are very sure about what they have to do. But winning has become more decisive than ever because every game we play there is one fewer fixture left.”
Barcelona can climb into first place with a win against Atletico. Real Madrid leads Barcelona by two points and battles Getafe on Thursday. Barcelona has just six games left of their schedule.
Barcelona has 11 wins in 17 games under Setien.