Valverde back ‘misfiring’ Phillipe Coutinho after Barcelona win

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LEGANES, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 26: Coutinho of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the La Liga match between CD Leganes and FC Barcelona at Estadio Municipal de Butarque on September 26, 2018 in Leganes, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

Ernesto Valverde has backed Phillipe Coutinho after the Brazilian had a tough game for FC Barcelona in their 2-0 win over Girona on Sunday. Coutinho was given a position on the club’s starting eleven due to Ousmane Dembele’s ankle injury, but the Brazilian did not impress.

Ernesto Valverde, however, was happy with the performance. “What I like about him is that he always tries things and takes on his man,” Valverde said. “It might work or it might not. He had chances but didn’t score because their goalkeeper is excellent. He’ll convert other chances soon.”

Coutinho’s compatriot Arthur was praised by Valverde after the midfielder came on the field as a substitute for Arturo Vidal. “We were having some difficulty because they were pressing high and we couldn’t pass through it on occasions,” he explained. “These losses of possession led to Girona’s main chances. When Arthur went on, he had the ability to keep the ball.”

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