Martino out to 'cut short' Barça crisis
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Barcelona must "cut short" any crisis emerging from their shock 3-2 defeat to Valencia which knocked them off the top of the Spanish league, coach Gerardo Martino has said.

The Catalans, who had led La Liga for 59 successive matchdays until Saturday's loss, will hope to get back to winning ways by defeating Real Sociedad tomorrow in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final. "It is true that crises always have a beginning. So it is up to us to cut it short," Martino said.

"Moreover, it is a Copa del Rey semi-final and we have it within our power to ensure this does not go any further. We expect that tomorrow (Wednesday) we can cut this short and leave the defeat to Valencia behind us," he said.

Barcelona took an early lead in Saturday's game at the Camp Nou but then took their foot off the pedal and defensive errors allowed Valencia back into the match.

The loss allowed Atletico Madrid to take a three-point lead at the top of the league by beating Real Sociedad 4-0, but Martino said the race for top spot in La Liga is still wide open. "Forty-five minutes of bad play is not enough to rule out Barça. I think ruling us out would be hasty."

Barcelona's troubles coincide with a stressful period off the field after the resignation of club president Sandro Rosell because of a judicial wrangle over the cost of signing their Brazilian star Neymar. Rosell has been replaced as Barcelona president by his former deputy Josep Maria Bartomeu.