Ronald Koeman has said that comments on Lionel Messi's future, such as those made by interim Barcelona president Carlos Tusquets this week, are 'not helping' the club recover from a difficult start to the season.
Tusquets, standing in as president until the election in January, sparked fury when he admitted he would have granted Messi his transfer request in order to ease the financial burden on the club.
Barça are steadily pulling things together under Koeman having won six of their eight matches since their damaging Clasico defeat in October.
They have already qualified for the knockout phase of the Champions League, but have plenty of ground to make up in the La Liga title race - they are ten points from top with two games in hand and nine behind Atletico Madrid, who have played the same number of matches.
They face Cadiz this weekend and Koeman has said the sideshow of internal comments over Messi's future doesn't help the cause.
"We know Leo's situation," Koeman said, per Marca. "If there's one person who has to decide on his future, it's Leo himself.
"Comments from outside the club don't interest me. But comments from within the club don't help us to have the peace of mind we need.
"We cannot control what happens outside the club, but from the inside it's different."
Tusquets had pointed to La Liga's new salary limits as a primary reason for selling Messi, though did add that the coaching staff deserve their place.
"Economically speaking, I would’ve sold Messi in the summer window," he said.“Both in terms of what you save on the wage bill as well as the money you make, it would’ve been desirable. But this is something the coaching staff have to consent to and that’s not my place.
“La Liga are setting salary limits at the moment and this would’ve helped on that front.”