Quique Setien praised Antoine Griezmann after the forward finally returned to the scoresheet in Barcelona's 4-1 LaLiga victory over Villarreal.

Griezmann netted his first goal since February to go with strikes from Luis Suarez and Ansu Fati after Pau Torres' own goal as Barca pulled back to within four points of leaders and rivals Real Madrid.

Setien was happy with what he saw from Griezmann, whose goal was his 15th in his first season at Barcelona.

"He has associated himself very well and has been gaining confidence," the Barcelona head coach said, via AS.

"I am very satisfied as I suppose he will be after the goal so beautiful that he has scored, reminded me of one of [Lionel] Messi's at [Real] Betis."

Setien praised Barca's performance as they claimed just their second win in five games.

"All teams are different. Today, we have had everything," he said.

Setien added: "Other teams like Atletico [Madrid] or Sevilla, firmer in defence created more problems for us. Perhaps they were stronger than this.

"This helps us a lot in confidence. We have pressed very well and we haven't allowed them to leave. We have made a very balanced match. I would have liked to be right before."

Meanwhile, there was further controversy in Real Madrid's win over Athletic Bilbao as another Sergio Ramos penalty saw Zinedine Zidane's men claim three points.

The spot-kick was awarded via the VAR and Setien said the system was becoming more confusing.

"I understand it [the VAR] less and less," he said.

Barcelona reached 9,000 goals in all official competitions following their 4-1 rout of Villarreal in LaLiga on Sunday.

Barca celebrated the milestone thanks to teenage sensation Ansu Fati, who came off the bench and scored the team's fourth goal away to Villarreal.

The two-time reigning LaLiga champions, who are four points behind bitter rivals Real Madrid with four matches remaining, netted their first official goal in April 1909.

Just over 111 years later, Barca have scored their 9,000th goal – superstar captain and six-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi contributing 630.

Of Barca's overall tally, 6,165 goals have been scored in LaLiga, followed by the Copa del Rey (1,474) and the Champions League (543).

Antoine Griezmann ended his goal drought with a stunning finish and Lionel Messi tormented Villarreal as Barcelona cruised to a 4-1 LaLiga victory on Sunday.

Barca's grip on the title had slipped with back-to-back draws and bitter rivals Real Madrid moved seven points clear at the top with a win at Athletic Bilbao earlier in the day, but the champions responded at Estadio de la Ceramica.

An early Pau Torres own goal put Barca in front and the mercurial Messi set up sensational strikes from Luis Suarez and Griezmann after the in-form Gerard Moreno equalised, with Ansu Fati adding a fourth late on.

Griezmann had gone eight games without a goal, but silenced his critics with a moment of class in a breathtaking attacking display from Barca, with Messi – who had a goal disallowed and hit the crossbar – starring at the end of a week in which his future has been the subject of more speculation.

Previously in-form Villarreal have still not beaten the Catalan giants since 2008 and their first defeat since the season restarted is a blow to their bid for a Champions League spot.

Barca made a blistering start and they were rewarded when Torres turned the ball into his own net just three minutes in with Griezmann waiting to pounce on Jordi Alba's cross behind him.

The Blaugrana were causing the home side all sorts of problems going forward but looked vulnerable on the break and Moreno levelled clinically against the run of play with 14 minutes played after Marc-Andre ter Stegen palmed away Santi Cazorla's strike.

Barca wasted little time in regaining the lead, though, Messi running from just inside the Villarreal half and beating two players before finding Suarez, who picked out the far corner with a sublime first-time finish from the edge of the penalty area.

Arturo Vidal and Suarez came close before Griezmann added a third just before half-time, lobbing Sergio Asenjo with a superb effort after Messi set him up with a cheeky backheel following another penetrating run.

The busy Asenjo denied Suarez and Vidal after the break and Messi had a goal chalked off after VAR ruled he had been offside before tucking in Sergi Roberto's cutback.

Fati came off the bench to put the icing on the cake, cutting in from the left to fire home and Messi rattled the crossbar with a free-kick before Asenjo superbly saved Martin Braithwaite's header following up.

  

What does it mean? Relief for Setien

Barca boss Quique Setien has come under fire, but his players appear to be behind him on the evidence of this performance.

On a day when it was revealed Xavi, linked with the Barca hotseat, will stay at Al-Sadd, the defending champions showed they will not give up their title without a fight with four games to play.

Messi magic, Griezmann shows his class

Griezmann has had a tough first season at Barca, but he showed what he is capable of with the finish of a player who is anything but short of confidence.

It was Messi who was the star of the show, though, yet again, slipping away from defenders with ease and laying on two goals with sheer brilliance and not looking like a man eager to leave Camp Nou.

Semedo all at sea

Barca full-back Nelson Semedo looked vulnerable defensively in the first half and was hooked off early in the second. Setien's men were too open at the back in the first half and Semedo was caught out too often.

What's next?

Barca host lowly Espanyol in a derby clash on Wednesday, with Villarreal facing a tricky trip to sixth-placed Getafe on the same evening.

Quique Setien says Antoine Griezmann understands why he is not in the Barcelona first XI but insists the France forward has a lot to offer.

Griezmann, a €120million signing from Atletico Madrid prior to the start of the season, has struggled to find consistent form alongside Lionel Messi in the Barca attack.

The World Cup winner has started just one of Barca's past four LaLiga matches and only got off the bench for second-half stoppage time in the 2-2 draw with old club Atletico this week.

Setien accepts responsibility for Griezmann's frustration at not being more involved but has no problems with the player's present attitude.

"He's good," the Barca boss said ahead of Sunday's game with Villarreal. "I exchanged some words with him. Antoine is a great professional; he's a player that understands the situation.

"He's an extraordinary guy who is tremendously professional. It's not going to affect him when he plays again. He's very positive and we can count on him 100 per cent when he's back out on the pitch.

"I have spoken about hierarchies, but I don't think I have ever spoken about untouchables. Griezmann is a great player who is very important for the club and for the team.

"When he's played, you ask me about Ansu [Fati]. When Ansu plays, it's the reverse. Not all players can play. I would love to give them all minutes, but I have to ask what each player can add to the team at certain moments. I always weigh up my decisions, I don't make them on a whim.

"I have the hierarchy and the importance of certain players in mind, but at a team like Barca, where there are so many great players, not everyone can play.

"It happens at all teams and it's normal players are angry because they always want to play. They're decisions that I must take responsibility for."

Lionel Messi's future is often a topic of discussion.

Messi has an early break clause in his Barcelona contract.

As Barca look to re-sign Messi, the 33-year-old superstar is reportedly ready to walk away next year.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI WANTS BARCA EXIT

Lionel Messi will leave Barcelona when his contract expires at the end of 2020-21, according to Cadena SER.

Barca captain Messi – previously linked to Inter and Manchester City – has reportedly been in talks over a new two-year deal at Camp Nou.

However, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner and Barca's all-time leading scorer is reportedly tired of being blamed for issues at the club, with the LaLiga champions set to be dethroned by Real Madrid.

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Camp Nou and club legend Xavi has agreed to become Barcelona head coach next season. Mundo Deportivo journalist Francesc Aguilar says the Al-Sadd boss has agreed a €6million salary to replace under-fire coach Quique Setien.

- Mundo Deportivo reports Manchester United and neighbours City have asked Barca about the availability of out-of-favour forward Antoine Griezmann. A big-money signing from Atletico Madrid at the start of the season, Griezmann has struggled and found himself on the bench in recent weeks. However, the report claims Barca are not considering a transfer.

Liverpool are poised to sign Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara, says Sport. Thiago is out of contract at the end of 2020-21 and the Spaniard is not willing to re-sign. Now, Liverpool are believed to be in advanced negotiations as Bayern seek £31m (€35m) for Thiago.

- Everton full-back Lucas Digne has emerged as a target for City and Chelsea if they fail to land Leicester City star Ben Chilwell, according to ESPN.

Borussia Dortmund have completed the signing of Birmingham City teenager Jude Bellingham, reports Bild. United were also chasing the 17-year-old sensation.

- After signing Achraf Hakimi from Real Madrid, Sky journalist Fabrizio Romano claims Inter have opened talks with Chelsea for Italian full-back Emerson Palmieri.

Juventus are hoping to settle Paulo Dybala's new contract between July and August, says Calciomercato.

- The Telegraph reports Chelsea are ready to step up their pursuit of Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz after Saturday's DFB-Pokal final against Bayern. Havertz has been linked to Bayern, Madrid, United, Liverpool and Barca.

- Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga could be shipped out on loan to Sevilla, claims The Sun. The world's most expensive keeper has been criticised for his performances this season.

Christophe Dugarry has apologised for calling Lionel Messi a "half autistic kid" while laying into Antoine Griezmann.

Griezmann has failed to live up to expectations since joining Barcelona in a big-money move from Atletico Madrid last July.

The France forward this week came in for stinging criticism from his compatriot Dugarry, who suggested his fellow World Cup winner is scared of playing alongside Messi.

Dugarry has come under fire for his comments about the six-time Ballon d'Or winner on RMC Sport following Barca's 2-2 LaLiga draw with Atleti on Tuesday.

The former France striker said: "What is [Griezmann] afraid of? A kid who is 1.5 metres tall and half autistic?

"All he has to do is show some balls at some point. I've been saying for a year that he has a problem with Messi. He has to hit him in the face.

"It's true that Messi could give him more passes, but honestly I am not surprised. Griezmann loses balls, doesn't play with confidence. Griezmann should go and talk to Messi to solve the problem.

"People have been saying for a year that he has a problem with Messi. He has to give himself a slap in the face. Yes, maybe Messi could give him more passes, but it really doesn't surprise me.

"Griezmann loses possession. He plays scared. Griezmann should go and talk to Messi to resolve the problem."

Dugarry apologised for his comments on Twitter, although he later removed the post.

"I am sincerely sorry for the extent and the response to my comments on Lionel Messi," he wrote.

"I did not want to stigmatise people with autism disorders, it was not my intention. I apologise to the people I offended and will [apologise] again at 6 p.m. on Team Duga [Dugarry's radio show] this evening."

Diego Simeone reiterated his surprise after Antoine Griezmann was used sparingly by Barcelona against Atletico Madrid, but suggested the forward still had time to make an impact.

Griezmann was introduced in the 90th minute of Tuesday's 2-2 draw against his former club at Camp Nou and registered just six touches of the ball.

The France international has been a sub in three of Barca's last four games and has been linked with a move away at the end of the season, just a year after arriving from Atleti in a €120m transfer.

Simeone said after the game he was lost for words at Griezmann's struggles at Camp Nou but, speaking at a news conference on Thursday, he refused to criticise the 29-year-old for swapping clubs.

"I don't want to be disrespectful," he said. "At the moment we are playing a lot in this season finale and that point is not important for us today."

Asked for his opinion on the substitution, Simeone said: "I am without words. Speechless.

"I don't drive a truck, I drive a team of footballers who work for a major club like Atleti. 

"In our team, three minutes can be decisive. We lost a Champions League final in the space of three minutes and for me they are very important."

Atletico's away draw with reigning champions Barca made it 13 games without defeat in all competitions, including a 4-2 aggregate win over Liverpool in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Simeone credits the victory at Anfield prior to the suspension of football due to coronavirus as the key to his side's recent resurgence in LaLiga, with four wins and two draws since the restart lifting Atleti into third place ahead of Friday's clash with Real Mallorca.

"We played a great match against Liverpool with a result that we knew was going to give us a major boost in LaLiga," he said.

"In LaLiga you are awarded for consistency. It is not over yet, but we know the Liverpool result was important for us before the break. 

"The players trained well at home and we returned as we wanted. The group is good, with good relationships between the players.

"We have to continue improving and achieve our objective against Mallorca. Hopefully we can finish as high as possible in the league."

Antoine Griezmann has become "a caricature of himself" at Barcelona, where his former Real Sociedad boss feels a toxic environment is taking its toll.

Quique Setien has named Griezmann on the bench for three of Barca's past four games, including important meetings with top-four hopefuls Sevilla and Atletico Madrid.

The World Cup winner was not sent on until the 90th minute against Atletico on Tuesday, with Ansu Fati introduced ahead of him in the 2-2 draw at Camp Nou.

Barca will fall four points behind Real Madrid with five games remaining if LaLiga's leaders beat Getafe on Thursday, with reports suggesting Setien has lost the backing of his players.

Martin Lasarte, who handed Griezmann his professional debut as an 18-year-old in the Segunda Division with La Real, believes the atmosphere at Barca is having a negative effect on the France star's adaptation to the team.

"What you see of Griezmann is like a caricature of himself. I see him sad, with his head down, running without much sense," Lasarte told Radio Marca.

"The coach has every right to make changes whenever he wants but I do not feel the other night [against Atletico] helped Griezmann's psychological situation.

"When things don't go well for a player, the coach should be there to support and help. Of course, Antoine will have his responsibility but there is an environment that does not help him to succeed.

"It would have been better if he had gone to Barca a year earlier. I have the feeling that when he said he was staying at Atletico something broke with the Barca dressing room."

Barca sacked Ernesto Valverde when they were top of the league in January and Lasarte thinks that sapped the momentum Griezmann was starting to build.

"Griezmann may have had a hard time adapting at first but then I felt he improved in December and January. Now he conveys a sad, down feeling," he said.

"The truth is I don't know if the change of coach at Barca was the most successful, it has not given the feeling of having improved much.

"That surely has also influenced Griezmann's situation."

Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann has no interest in leaving the LaLiga giants.

Speculation over the France international's future has increased amid his, and Barca's, struggles.

But the 29-year-old seemingly wants more than one season at Barcelona.

 

TOP STORY – GRIEZMANN NOT INTERESTED IN BARCELONA EXIT

Griezmann has no interest in leaving Barcelona, according to Le Parisien.

Since arriving from Atletico Madrid for €120million, Griezmann has managed just 14 goals in 43 games this season.

Griezmann was introduced as a 90th-minute substitute in Barca's 2-2 draw with his former club on Tuesday.

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Camp Nou and Quique Setien's future as Barcelona head coach remains a talking point after one win in four games. AS reports Setien is not in immediate danger but is far from safe, while Sport says his future is uncertain, although the club are hoping to keep him at the helm until the end of the season.

- Manchester City look set for a rebuild in the close season. The Guardian claims Bayern Munich defender David Alaba, who is out of contract next year, is a target for the Premier League giants.

- After making a stellar start to the season with Lyon before suffering a serious knee injury, Memphis Depay has been linked with a move. Le 10 Sport reports Arsenal want the attacker, who has 14 goals in 18 games this season.

- Carlos Tevez's future remains uncertain. Ole says the former Manchester United and Manchester City forward, 36, could retire as he struggles to agree to a new contract with Boca Juniors.

- With Bruno Lage on his way out as Benfica coach, the Portuguese giants are searching for a new boss. According to A Bola, Benfica have looked at the likes of Mauricio Pochettino, Ernesto Valverde and Laurent Blanc, but are now considering former Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal coach Unai Emery.

- Tottenham defender Serge Aurier could be set for a move. Sky Sports reports Monaco are interested in the Ivory Coast right-back.

Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone said he is "without words" amid Antoine Griezmann's struggles at Barcelona.

Griezmann was a 90th-minute substitute against former team Atletico, who earned a 2-2 draw away to stuttering Barca in LaLiga on Tuesday.

A €120million signing from Atletico at the start of the season, Griezmann arrived amid much hype but the star forward has struggled at Camp Nou, where he has started on the bench against Sevilla and Athletic Bilbao in recent weeks.

Griezmann has scored eight LaLiga goals this season and 14 across all competitions for second-placed Barca, who could fall four points adrift of bitter rivals Real Madrid on Thursday.

However, Griezmann has not scored since Barca's 1-1 draw against Napoli in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie prior to the coronavirus pandemic in February.

Asked about Griezmann, Simeone told Movistar: "I'm without words."

Diego Costa's 11th-minute own goal had put Barca ahead before Saul Niguez's penalty restored parity for Atletico eight minutes later.

Lionel Messi converted a penalty of his own five minutes into the second half to celebrate his 700th career goal, but another Saul spot-kick – in the 62nd minute – secured a draw for Atletico.

It is the first time Atletico have scored two goals against Barca in LaLiga under Simeone, whose side are third and two points clear of Sevilla with five matches remaining.

"We are respectful of Barcelona ​​with the quality they have," Simeone said.

"The game was played as a result of what we usually do. We started well. Their goal came in an isolated play.

"Then to generate a difficult game against a team that keep the ball well.

"We tried until the end. The work was very good, a very competitive team. I'm happy."

Barcelona head coach Quique Setien admitted it is difficult to play Antoine Griezmann without "destabilising" the team as he threw the Frenchman's future into further doubt.

Griezmann was a 90th-minute substitute against former team Atletico Madrid, who earned a 2-2 draw away to defending LaLiga champions Barca on Tuesday.

A €120million signing from Atletico at the start of the season, Griezmann arrived amid much hype but the star forward has struggled at Camp Nou, where he has started on the bench against Sevilla and Athletic Bilbao in recent weeks.

Explaining Griezmann's place on the bench as Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Riqui Puig started in the attacking third, Setien said: "It's difficult to put him on without destabilising the team.

Griezmann has scored eight LaLiga goals this season and 14 across all competitions for second-placed Barca.

However, Griezmann has not scored since Barca's 1-1 draw against Napoli in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie prior to the coronavirus pandemic in February.

"I understand it's tough for Griezmann to come on when so little time left. I will speak with him tomorrow [Wednesday], I won't say sorry because [it's about] decisions.

"But I understand he may feel bad and I feel bad for him because he's a great person and professional."

Messi scored his 700th career goal but stuttering Barca still dropped more points in the title race.

Diego Costa's 11th-minute own goal had put Barca ahead before Saul Niguez's penalty restored parity for Atletico eight minutes later.

Messi converted a penalty of his own five minutes into the second half to celebrate his landmark goal, but another Saul spot-kick – in the 62nd minute – secured a draw for Atletico.

Barca are one point behind leaders Real Madrid, who can move four clear with victory over Getafe on Thursday, as pressure mounts on Setien.

However, under-fire Barca boss Setien said: "I don't feel at all under threat.

"It's a shame. We're having more and more difficulties. Leaving these points behind means we're moving further away from the title. But we have to keep working and Atletico are a good team."

Lionel Messi scored the 700th goal of his career but Barcelona were held to a 2-2 draw against Atletico Madrid by a pair of Saul Niguez penalties, damaging their LaLiga title defence.

Barca's all-time leading scorer Messi brought up the milestone at Camp Nou with a brilliant Panenka from the penalty spot as he punished Felipe for sending Nelson Semedo to ground early in the second half.

However, Saul, who first equalised in the opening period after Diego Costa's own goal, powered home from 12 yards for the second time after Semedo caught Yannick Carrasco in the box.

The result provided a boost to Real Madrid, who can open up a four-point advantage at the summit by beating Getafe on Thursday.

Messi appeared to have ended his wait for his landmark goal in the 11th minute, but his corner only beat Jan Oblak due to a deflection off the inside of Costa's leg.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen saved a penalty from Costa after Arturo Vidal tripped Carrasco, only for a VAR review to spot the goalkeeper had strayed off his line. A re-take was ordered and Saul guided the ball into the bottom-right corner.

Messi curled a magnificent attempt from the right corner of the box narrowly wide, before steering a cutback from Jordi Alba outside the left upright and seeing a deflected free-kick turned behind by Oblak before half-time.

Barca regained the lead five minutes after the restart when Messi cheekily chipped home his 700th goal from the penalty spot.

Costa missed the target with a header but Carrasco won another penalty and Saul's spot-kick found the net off the gloves of Ter Stegen.

Vidal was unable to find the target with a pair of decent opportunities as Barca were forced to settle for a draw that will do little to quell the rumours of discontent in the dressing room.

What does it mean? Barca falter again

Quique Setien changed his approach for the visit of Atleti, leaving Antoine Griezmann and Ansu Fati on the bench and playing Riqui Puig behind a front two of Messi and Luis Suarez.

The Blaugrana dominated possession throughout but proved vulnerable on the counter-attack and Setien did not change formation until he introduced Fati in the 85th minute – Griezmann came on five minutes later.

It was too late and Barca have now drawn three of their past four LaLiga fixtures and seen the two-point lead they held when the season was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic evaporate. With five games remaining, Setien needs to turn things around quickly.

Magical Messi not enough

Everything positive for Barca was funnelled through Messi – he had more shots in the first half than the entire Atleti team. After three games without a goal he reached his milestone with class, but Diego Simeone's men were still able to snatch a point.

Costa's miserable outing

After narrowly missing out on connecting with a teasing Carrasco free-kick in the sixth minute, Costa put the ball in the net at the other end. His penalty was poor and he was fortunate VAR offered Atletico a second chance to equalise.

What's next?

Atleti are back in action at home to Real Mallorca on Friday, while Barcelona face a tricky trip to Villarreal on Sunday.

Antoine Griezmann was named on the bench for Barcelona's LaLiga meeting with Atletico Madrid, for whom Joao Felix was left out of the starting line-up.

Quique Setien selected just two regular attackers for the visit of Atleti to Camp Nou on Tuesday, with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez joining forces in attack as the reigning champions looked to regain top spot from Real Madrid.

Former Atleti forward Griezmann was joined on the bench by Ansu Fati, who was handed a starting berth in the 2-2 draw against Celta Vigo at the weekend.

Holding midfielder Sergio Busquets took the place of Fati following his return from suspension, with the only other change seeing Clement Lenglet replace Samuel Umtiti.

Diego Simeone made five alterations to the team that started a 2-1 win over Deportivo Alaves on Saturday.

Joao Felix and Alvaro Morata dropped to the bench, while Koke missed out through suspension. Diego Costa, Marcos Llorente and Yannick Carrasco were drafted into the line-up in their places.

Santiago Arias and Felipe were named in defence, with Kieran Trippier on the bench and Stefan Savic absent due to a ban.

Joao Felix is perhaps feeling the pressure of the "economic impact" from his move to Atletico Madrid but he can emulate Antoine Griezmann in becoming a star for Diego Simeone's side, says Abel Xavier.

The Portugal sensation was one of the most sought-after players of the previous close season prior to joining Atleti, who paid €126million to Benfica for his signature.

There have been flashes of the brilliance that saw Atleti stump up that huge sum, though six goals and a solitary assist from 24 LaLiga appearances - prior to Tuesday's clash with Barcelona - is hardly the most fruitful return.

Former Portugal international Xavier is convinced Joao Felix will adapt to life at the Wanda Metropolitano, though, and is sure it remains the right environment for the 20-year-old to flourish.

"There is a great hope on Felix because of his move to Atletico [but] the economic impact of his value is giving him too much pressure," Xavier told Stats Perform News.

"He needs to find the correct surrounding to be able to realise the potential of his own game. 

"That is going to be the next step with him, especially at Atletico Madrid with their philosophy and style of play.

"I admire Simeone a lot. There are a lot of people who do not like the identity of his game because he's very effective. At the end of the day he's fighting for the big trophies.

"But when you are integrating a big player, a fantasy player, a player who likes to have the ball…it's a process also for Felix to work on different aspects of the game.

"Maybe he was not used to defending so much without the ball. He needs to have the ball.

"For that reason I think it's a good process that will build him in different aspects to become stronger.  

"He's going to be one of the greatest in the future, for sure, with the correct set-up and style of play collectively."

Some pundits have questioned whether Joao Felix was right to move to Atleti and his name was linked tentatively with Manchester United during the coronavirus-enforced shutdown.

Xavier doubts anyone would pay more for his services than Atleti did, though, and said Joao Felix can become key for Simeone, just as Griezmann did for five seasons before joining Barcelona last year.

"It's very difficult at this present moment that someone can come and pay more than what Atletico paid for him," Xavier said. 

"He needs right now to be focused on his game. He's had a few injuries also, which is not a good sign. He needs to find stability and consistency. 

"Atletico right now is the best place for him. Stay two or three years and be the main figure in the same way that Antoine Griezmann was."

Barcelona coach Quique Setien said he had no interest in a player's price tag when choosing his team after starting Antoine Griezmann on the bench against Celta Vigo.

Griezmann, a €120million signing from Atletico Madrid last year, was introduced late as Barca were held to a 2-2 draw in Vigo on Saturday.

Setien defended his decision to start Griezmann, who has scored 14 goals in 42 games this season, on the bench.

"I don't take into consideration the player's price tag," he told a news conference.

"Last week we chose one specific team, and today we decided on another one. Last week you asked me why Ansu Fati wasn't playing, why Riqui Puig wasn't playing and today why Griezmann isn't playing.

"These are decisions I make and they are technical decisions. They're not made rashly, and they are done with the best of intentions for the team."

Lionel Messi set up two goals for Luis Suarez, but Iago Aspas' 88th-minute equaliser saw Barca held.

Setien's men are a point clear of Real Madrid, who visit Espanyol on Sunday.

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