Barca boss explains surprise decision to bench Coutinho

Date published: Monday 19th February 2018 9:51

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has explained his surprise decision to bench Philippe Coutinho against Eibar.

Barcelona maintained their seven-point lead at the top of La Liga with a 2-0 victory over Eibar on Saturday.

Coutinho had started each of the club’s three La Liga games since returning from injury last month, but was dropped to the bench at the weekend.

The £105million January signing from Liverpool came on with half an hour to play, but the decision not to start him raised many an eyebrow.

The Brazilian is ineligible for the Champions League after already playing in the competition for Liverpool, and so cannot feature against Chelsea in midweek.

Many therefore felt he would play against Eibar with Andres Iniesta rested, but that was not the case.

“I think it was best for my team to try to win,” Valverde explained.

“Last week Coutinho started, Iniesta didn’t, so this week Iniesta started.

“It’s true that on Tuesday we have another match but for me the most important thing was this match.

“On Tuesday, let’s see, I know Coutinho cannot play, but we will do something.”


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