Philippe Coutinho defends under-fire Barcelona teammate to senior stars

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When Barcelona signed Paulinho this past summer, it undoubtedly raised plenty of eyebrows given his failed stint in England and move to China.

Further, having splashed out €40m on the Brazilian midfielder, as per BBC Sport, it was a contentious move that sparked debate over the sense behind the swoop.

To his credit, the 29-year-old ignored all of the outside media talk, and he’s bagged eight goals and two assists so far this season, while making 37 appearances in all competitions to establish himself as a key figure in Ernesto Valverde’s plans.

The problem though is that he’s started to struggle to have a decisive impact in recent weeks, as he’s failed to score in the Champions League all season while his last La Liga goal came on January 14.

In turn, and unsurprisingly, that has led to scrutiny building but according to Diario Gol, as re-reported by The Express, Philippe Coutinho has stood up for his compatriot and asked Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez for ‘patience’ with the Brazilian ace as he will rediscover his best form.

With the demands of being a Barcelona player in mind, Paulinho isn’t going to be given a great deal of time, but with key games coming up, it remains to be seen if Valverde even keeps faith in him.

The Catalan giants host Atletico Madrid in a La Liga title battle this weekend, before they face Chelsea in the second leg of their last-16 Champions League tie this month too.

As a result, while they’ve impressed for the most part to this point, they’ll be desperate to pick up important results in the coming weeks or it could lead to more difficult questions being asked of those who aren’t contributing enough.

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