Koeman talks to Dembélé in the match against Betis.ALBERT GEA / .
Barcelona’s top scorer in LaLiga is not Messi (three). Neither did Griezmann (two). The best Barça gunner is Ansu Fati, with four targets. “I am concerned about the performance above. It is not a matter of attitude and concentration, but you do have to be more effective in front of the goal, ”Ronald Koeman had complained, before his boys’ five goals against Betis in the duel prior to the national break. The problem for the Dutch coach is that Fati will be out for four months, while Griezmann does not finish finding his position in the field and Messi his place in the club. On the eve of the duel against Atlético, Koeman adds a new problem in attack: fatigue in an already tight season. On the 10th, which rested in the first half against Betis, he completed the two matches of the Argentine team in the South American qualifiers, while on the 7th he played 213 minutes in three games (a friendly and two matches in the Nations League).
Without Ansu Fati and with Messi and Griezmann between anguish and fatigue, at Barça the time has come for Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembélé, no less than in the Metropolitano and against a careful opponent like Atlético.
Coutinho did not travel to play for his national team. The Brazilian injured his hamstring in his left thigh in the loss to Real Madrid in October and did not force himself to travel to Brazil to complete his recovery in Barcelona. On Wednesday, the former Bayern player did all training. And Koeman breathes. “He is delighted with Coutinho, with Pedri and, of course, Leo, they are the players he likes the most,” they underline at the Barcelona Sports City. “There are three footballers who when they meet generate those societies that Menotti spoke of,” adds the same source. Before the injury, the Brazilian had played six games: two goals and two assists.
“Coutinho has a lot of quality, he is a fantastic player. He has learned a lot in England, also at Bayern. He is seen with more confidence. But the key to everything, make no mistake, is the quality of the player, “Koeman recently analyzed. Without Ansu Fati, the carioca can be placed in the left winger position in which he excelled at Liverpool or in the alley of 10, a demarcation in which he also feels comfortable, as he has already shown with Koeman on the bench. “My role as a coach is also this, to put the players in their place and get their best performance. It all starts there ”, insisted the Dutch coach.
There is another Barça player who is competing to win a place in the eleven: Dembélé. “I’ve never seen him train like this. He is very strong and seems to be eager ”, a wardrobe partner is surprised. The Frenchman has been jumping from bad to bad for a long time, with no space to boost his game. “Ousmane’s situation is different from Philippe’s. He is not an associative player, he will not meet Leo and Pedri or Griezmann. You don’t interact with Dembélé, he acts. After the injuries the physique has changed. It’s just as fast, but stronger ”, they explain in Sant Joan Despí. “He is doing the warm-up exercises well and he has lost the fear of resenting the injuries again,” they say in the surroundings of the French winger. Coutinho and Dembélé are a coin in the air for Koeman. For different reasons, the two most expensive signings in the club’s history (160 and 145 million respectively) never finished starting. Koeman, in any case, rubs his hands together. New train at Barça for Coutinho and Dembélé.