Manager Ernesto Valverde has decided to be patient as he re-introduces the Barcelona star back into the squad, as he returns from an injury.
The 20-year-old made his first appearance in nearly 100+ days for the club, as he made a substitute appearance in the 1-1 draw in the Copa Del Ray for Barcelona. But the club record signing, who would have like to play more than 20 minutes will get a chance in Thursday’s second leg, which gives Ousmane Dembele a chance to build himself up again.
The Frenchman has been injured since September after suffering a hamstring injury in his third match for the club. However, while the initial prognosis was that Dembele would miss at least four months to six months of action, Barcelona has welcomed him back. One of the standout players of last season in Europe, the 20-year-old French winger had a beyond brilliant campaign with Borussia Dortmund scoring 11 goals and assisting a further 18.
However, despite that Valverde who utilized the winger as center-forward all the while resting both Messi and Suarez, said that he has no plans to rush the Ousmane Dembele back into action. “It was so that Dembele played in a position where he was released of defensive obligations, which were a bit stressful at that time of the match,” said the Blaugrana boss.
“When we know that this was the first game of this player after almost four months without playing, I preferred that he be in a position where he can gradually get used to the game. We must take into account that the pace of a whole match against a first division team. For Ousmane, it would have been excessive.”
With Neymar departing for an astronomical sum of money, Ousmane Dembele was brought in from Borussia Dortmund for a club record €105 million to help fill the void. However, while the 20-year-old did enjoy a sensational break-out season in the Bundesliga last season, the injury had set-back any progress that he made since joining the Camp Nou side.
While the attacking trio hasn’t exactly clicked for Barcelona, Luis Suarez is slowly returning back to form and the rest of the squad has become more organized and clinical. But while they would certainly welcome Ousmane Dembele’s attacking presence back in the team, nobody wants to rush his return especially with time on his side.