Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano has played down fears that Lionel Messi's current goal-draught is down to him being played in a different position by manager Gerardo Martino.
Messi is currently going through his longest dry spell for over two years, having failed to find the net in over 300 minutes of Primera Division action.
While the Argentine international has suggested that his below-par performances are caused by a lack of form after a series of niggling injuries, various Catalan pundits and experts have suggested Martino's tactical tinkering – including playing Messi on the right wing – are to blame for the loss of form.
Mascherano, however, has eased the worries claiming that the tactical changes are temporary and Messi will soon be back to his best.
"It is true that playing more to the right Messi can intervene less than before in the play," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "But that was just in the Clasico and was only a certain strategy from the coach."
The former Liverpool midfielder does not believe that Barcelona's more direct approach this season means the Catalan giants have turned their back on the famous tiki-taka style, which has won them a host of trophies under former manager's Pep Guardiola and Tito Vilanova.
"One stage has been closed and another opened," Mascherano said. "I do not believe that Tata is here to change things, but to look for alternatives, after so much time the opponents know how we play. So we cannot just keep playing in the same way."
Mascherano spent three seasons at Liverpool, who then were coached by current Napoli boss Rafael Benitez. The Argentinian did little to rule out rumours linking him to Italy and his former boss with some additional comments.
"I am a grateful person and I remember that Rafa took me from West Ham, where I did not play, and gave me confidence at Liverpool in a team full of great midfielders," he said. "I would love to work with him again someday and he knows it. But today I am at Barcelona
and I am fine there. In the future, we will see."
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