What Ernesto Valverde said about Philippe Coutinho as Barcelona boss strongly defends star

Amid ongoing criticism of Philippe Coutinho, Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has come out in support of his Brazilian playmaker.

The 26-year-old hasn’t hit the heights expected of him so far this season, as he’s managed six goals and five assists in 29 appearances in all competitions.

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Given his role in the side, much more will be needed moving forward, but as he continues to disappoint in front of goal coupled with transfer speculation even linking him with Man Utd and Chelsea, as per The Express, it has led to ongoing criticism.

However, Valverde has supported him after the win over Girona at the weekend, insisting that he likes what he’s seeing from the Brazilian international despite the lack of an end product.

“What I like about Coutinho is that he’s daring and he’s always prepared to take the opposition on,” Valverde said, as per Sport.

“He makes things happen. After that, sometimes things go your way, sometimes they don’t. He’s had good chances and the fact that he’s getting into those positions one-on-one with the goalkeeper is really good. He’s not converted those chances this time, but he will.”

Unfortunately, that is unlikely to be enough for Barcelona supporters, who undoubtedly have a very high standard and level of expectation given the success that they’ve enjoyed over the years, and so until there is a consistent end product, Coutinho will face question marks and criticism.

He’ll perhaps get the chance to try and silence those detractors when the Catalan giants face Valencia on Saturday, but before that, they’ll have to overcome a two-goal deficit in their Copa del Rey quarter-final clash with Sevilla on Wednesday.

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