Barcelona head coach Gerardo Martino has leapt to the defence of Lionel Messi after his star attacker again misfired.
While Alexis Sanchez's 68th-minute strike was enough to hand the Catalan giants a 1-0 victory over city rivals Espanyol on Friday, Messi failed to score for the third game in a row.
As Sanchez's golden run in front of goal continued - the Chilean has now scored eight goals in seven matches in all competitions, Messi's poor form has attracted plenty of questions, although Martino remains unconcerned.
"I keep saying the same thing, I keep having to do an exclusive analysis of him (Messi) in every game," Martino said.
"He is the most important player in a team full of amazing players. He plays in his own way and offers us what he offers.
"If we keep winning, we will see the best of all of our footballers very soon."
Messi appeared to cut a forlorn figure after the match but Martino denied the Argentine was down on confidence.
"I don't think he's worried. In reality, I've seen him make the same facial expressions throughout his career. It's just a coincidence," Martino said.
"In the same way it was strange to see him score in 19 consecutive games (last season) it's also strange he hasn't scored in three games.
"Of course he would have been delighted to keep scoring two, three or four goals per game.
"He set the bar so high that now it seems as if there is a problem. But in my opinion, there's no problem."
Match-winner Sanchez added of Messi: "Leo is in the same form as always.
"He hasn't been scoring goals but he has provided assists, he has been taking on players.
"We think he's the same as always, playing very well."
It was far from a vintage performance from Barcelona but Martino was content with the way his side were able to grind out a win despite being below their best.
"In games like this you will always create chances because your opponents have run so much and they become tired," the 50-year-old said.
"We were imprecise in the final pass but we played the game the correct way, winning well against a team that did an impeccable job in defence.
"We looked to move the ball around, play triangle passes, while also playing long passes up the field. I don't think we lacked intensity when it came to attacking but we did lack continuity in pressing."
|Coach: G. Martino|
|Robinson joins QPR|
|Mazzarri lauds Kovacic development|
|Townsend eager to get back to full fitness|
|Tottenham 3 AEL 0 (agg 5-1): Spurs cruise into Europa League proper|
|Leicester complete sensational Cambiasso swoop|
|Del Piero confirms move to Indian Super League|
|Hull City 2 Lokeren 1 (agg 2-2): Lokeren progress despite Brady brace|
|Benatia excited to face Roma|
|Inter 6 Stjarnan 0 (agg 9-0): Kovacic treble sees hosts cruise through|
|Championship Preview: Redfearn in charge for Bolton clash, Magath eyes first league win|
|Newcastle United v Crystal Palace: Warnock kicks off second Palace stint|
|Atletico Madrid v Eibar: Champions seek first win|
|Rodgers excited about ´special´ draw|
|Manchester City v Stoke City: Pellegrini could chop and change|
|Warnock has no issues with Puncheon|
|Sacked Hockaday´s tenure at Leeds lasts just six games|
|Palace re-sign Zaha on loan|
|Burnley v Manchester United: Van Gaal hoping to kickstart recovery|
|Ronaldo named Europe´s best|
|Swansea City v West Brom: Monk wants Liberty fortress|
|Cameroon confident DR Congo clash will go ahead|
|West Ham v Southampton: Koeman anticipating physical West Ham challenge|
|Hughes expecting tough City test|
|Holders Real set for Liverpool test|
|Monk targeting two more additions|
|Koeman keen for ´difficult´ transfer window to end|
|Van Basten absent due to health issues|
|League Two Preview: Morecambe chase another win, giant-killers back in action|
|Irvine eyeing another winger|
|Van Gaal confirms more signings to come|
|Barca are constantly improving, says Rakitic|
|Di Maria is not ´the miracle´, says Van Gaal|
|Torres Milan move ´a real possibility´|
|Juventus v Chievo: Allegri begins quest to replicate Conte success|
|League One Preview: MK Dons and Orient aim to follow up historic wins|
|Schalke v Bayern Munich: Benatia in line for debut|
|Pirlo blow for Juve|
|Napoli defender Ghoulam suffers fractured arm|
|QPR v Sunderland: Redknapp desperate for points|
|Everton v Chelsea: Costa absence could prove costly|
|Deschamps makes two changes to France squad|
|Warnock excited by Palace challenge|
|Lambert: Delph deserves England call-up|
|Aguirre names five uncapped players in Japan squad|
|Ki signs new four-year Swansea deal|
|CSL Preview: Lippi returns to dugout, Beijing Guoan host rock-bottom Harbin Yiteng|
|J.League Preview: Yoshida out to keep pressure on Urawa|
|Chambers, Delph, Colback win England call-ups|
|Rooney named new England captain|
|Costa in doubt for Everton trip|
|Ross County sack Adams|
|Platini wants more UEFA representatives at World Cup|
|Allardyce hints at big-name signing|
|Platini will not challenge Blatter for FIFA presidency|
|Bruce convinced of qualification|
|Alonso set to swap Madrid for Munich|
|Pochettino to use MK Dons as an example|
|Champions League difficult for Arsenal - Bilic|
|Redknapp takes aim at ´really poor´ QPR|
|MLS Preview: Timbers braced for ´massive´ clash in Vancouver|
|Los Angeles Galaxy 4 DC United 1: Arena´s side show quality|
|Copa Sudamericana Review: River Plate, Libertad among teams to progress|
|CONCACAF Champions League Review: Pachuca in seventh heaven, Leon held|
|LDU Quito 3 Deportivo Quito 0: Hosts earn bragging rights against rivals|
|Johnson calm over future|
|Kiessling hails Leverkusen|
|Benitez: Mistakes cost Napoli Champions League spot|
|K. League Preview: Seoul eyeing winning streak|
|Liga MX Preview: Monterrey looking to build momentum|
|Valverde hails ´historic day´ for Bilbao|
|UEFA Champions League Review: Mixed results for Europe´s big guns, Moti the hero for Ludogorets|
|Atletico announce Velazquez capture|
|Giroud set for lengthy absence - Wenger|
|Holders City handed home clash with Wednesday|
|La Liga Preview: Saul not worried by Simeone absence, Barca face tough Villarreal test|
|Eto´o retires from Cameroon duty|
|Aston Villa 0 Leyton Orient 1: Late Vincelot winner sends underdogs through|
|Birmingham City 0 Sunderland 3: Late strikes stun hosts|
|Arsenal 1 Besiktas 0 (1-0 agg): Alexis strike takes Wenger´s men through|
|Stoke City 3 Portsmouth 0: Walters brace sees hosts into League Cup third round|
|Burton Albion 1 QPR 0: Late strike seals upset for fourth-tier hosts|
|Ligue 1 Preview: Bordeaux look to maintain 100 per cent start|
|Dunga: No one guaranteed a place in Brazil squad|
|Serie A Preview: Juve´s Allegri era starts at Chievo|
|Mazzarri calls for professional Inter|
|Utrecht swoop for Peterson|
|Deeney extends Watford stay|
|Alonso calls time on international career|
|Bundesliga Preview: Schalke captain Howedes issues rallying cry, Leverkusen face Hertha|
|Fazio joins Spurs from Sevilla|
|Warnock will control transfers - Parish|
|Pochettino wants Soldado and Townsend to stay at Spurs|
|Augsburg v Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller returns for wobbling visitors|
|Celtic complete Wakaso deal|
|Seoul 0 Pohang Steelers 0 (aet, 3-0 on penalties): Yu heroics send Seoul through|
|Guangzhou Evergrande 2 Western Sydney Wanderers 1: Wanderers squeeze through on away goals|
|I´m the future, Benatia´s the past - Manolas|
|Osotspa 3 Chiangrai United 3: Visitors secure point with late rally|
|Israel versus Belgium fixture postponed|
|Fernandes reveals Redknapp contract talks|
|Warnock makes Palace return|
|Eto´o grateful to Mourinho|
|Maiga loaned to Metz|
|Pearson rues ´poor´ Leicester display|
|Bruce: Rhodes deal dead and buried|
|Balotelli set to face Tottenham|
|Di Maria wanted Real stay|
|Dyche wary of inflated transfer market|
|Celtic didn´t deserve Champions League, concedes Deila|
|Game of two halves for Koeman|
|Allardyce hails ´inspired´ Howard|
|CONCACAF Champions League Review: Red Bulls up and running, Rodriguez stars for Saprissa|
|Copa Sudamericana Review: Gimenez double helps Emelec through|
|Eredivisie Preview: Guardado set for PSV bow, Ajax eye recovery|
|Van Gaal ´not shocked´ by Dons defeat|
|Deila: Celtic deserved Champions League exit|
|Barca agree deal for Pereira|
|Lopetegui lauds Porto progression|
|League Cup Review: United hammered by MK Dons, West Ham lose on penalties|
|West Brom 1 Oxford United 1 (aet, 7-6 on penalties): Hosts avoid cup shock|
|Manchester United win ´something dreams are made of´ - Robinson|
|UEFA Champions League Review: Celtic out again, Porto safely through|