We want to be in the league championship until the end, says Barca's Setien

SHOWS: BARCELONA, SPAIN (FEBRUARY 8, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

1. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) FC BARCELONA COACH, QUIQUE SETIEN, ON CUP DEFEAT, SAYING:

"I think we have to try to win, just like every game, in order to try and break the dynamic that this team has had in away matches for a while now. I think it is really important. We took an important step the other day. I think we have grown. Sadly, the results have not followed, but the team, if we value the games we've played, it's been a lot better and there's been a lot more continuity. But this is the only circumstance, because clearly, the three points are fundamental, because we have to win them, because we want to be in the league championship until the end, fighting against whoever we have to, and this is what really worries me. That these symptoms of improvement that we've showed in the Cup, that we show them now on the a pitch as difficult as it will be at Benito Villamarin."

2. FC BARCELONA SQUAD TAKING TRAINING PITCH

3. BARCELONA'S LIONEL MESSI WALKING ON PITCH

4. MESSI, ARTURO VIDAL AND JORDI ALBA, TALKING TO EACH OTHER AND WALKING ON PITCH

5. SQUAD ON PITCH AHEAD OF TRAINING SESSION

STORY: Barcelona visit Real Betis in La Liga on Sunday (February 9) as coach Quique Setien returns to the club which catapulted him to fame only to cut him loose after a bitter fallout.

Setien was seen as a surprise choice to succeed Ernesto Valverde at Barcelona last month and was also an unexpected hire when he took over Betis in the summer of 2017, going on to have a successful yet divisive two-year reign at the Seville club.

He achieved the highest win percentage of any Betis coach in the top-flight and oversaw some spectacular displays, including stunning away victories at Barca, rivals Sevilla, AC Milan plus successive wins at Real Madrid for the first time since 1934.

Yet his undying devotion to possession football began to alienate fans in the latter half of his second season as results dried up and Betis were thrashed by Leganes and Levante.

The 61-year-old spent over seven months out of work and was walking among cows in a village when he got the call from Barcelona.

His short time with the champions, however, has been far from smooth. Barca have fallen three points behind Real Madrid in the title race after a defeat to Valencia and captain Lionel Messi appears to be at loggerheads with sporting director Eric Abidal.

Furthermore, 30-times winners Barcelona were sent crashing out of the Copa del Rey in a 1-0 defeat at Athletic Bilbao on Thursday (February 6) after a stoppage-time header from Inaki Williams.

The coach is also short on personnel, with forwards Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele ruled out for the rest of the season and influential defender Gerard Pique suspended for Sunday's game against Betis, who are 12th in the standings.