FC Barcelona visit Netherlands as they take on PSV Eindhoven at the Philips Stadion in their 5th UEFA Champions League fixture
The Catalans lead their group with 10 points from 4 games, and a victory tonight could see them almost guarantee qualification to the round of 16 as group leaders. Philippe Coutinho is available again for the Spanish Champions after being out for a couple of weeks, wherein he missed the shock defeat to Real Betis and the draw against Atletico Madrid. However, Barcelona manager said that Philippe Coutinho was not guaranteed a first team spot over young Frenchman Ousmane Dembele, who has scored some really crucial goals this season, as he did against Atletico the other night.
“We’ll see about that,” said Valverde. “Ousmane has been playing regularly, so there’s no reason why that definitely will be the case.
“We hope that the goal against Atletico helped Dembele. A goal gives confidence to any player and I have the feeling Dembele will always try to do his best when he comes out.
“Dembele is a player who has been playing regularly, from the bench or the start, and he has quality.
“When he comes off the bench he can change a game and that’s a quality that is undervalued in football. Not everybody has that quality.”
Valverde, like many other managers, blamed the international break for injuries to key players,
“It’s not that we don’t want the players to go away with the national team, but it is something that we have to pay a price for and, in this case, several players’ injuries have coincided at the same time,”
“Throughout the season there are casualties of all kinds, as we have played the last two games of the Champions League without Lionel Messi.
“In the previous match were cautious with Coutinho, but we think that he can play this time. We will see how Ivan [Rakitic] trains, but we are optimistic.”
Ousmane Dembele has certainly been impressive and has made a positive impact whenever he has been given the chance this season. So it won’t be a surprise if he is given the nod ahead of Coutinho tonight.