Barcelona forward Luis Suarez has defended Philippe Coutinho after his teammate came under criticism for his performances in recent months.
The Brazilian playmaker played a key role in Barca’s win over Sevilla in the Copa del Rey in midweek, as they overcame a two-goal deficit to advance to the semi-finals 6-3 on aggregate.
Coutinho scored twice to take his tally up to eight goals and five assists in 30 appearances so far this season, but given his role in the side and the level of expectation, much more was arguably expected from him this season after settling into life at the Nou Camp in the second half of last year.
However, he perhaps hasn’t kicked on as many predicted, and that in turn has led to question marks over his future, with Chelsea and Man Utd linked with swoop, as per Football.London.
Suarez though has been discussing his teammate, and evidently the faith from the rest of the squad is still there that Coutinho will make his stint with Barcelona a success.
“As a teammate and friend, because of the relationship I have with Philippe, I tried to help and support him at all times and I always saw him with the best possible attitude, with joy in training,” he told Mundo Deportivo.
“It was important to support him at all times because I think he has been criticised for small things. You also have to accept that you are at Barça and you have to live with that pressure, you have to keep growing and know how to cope with these situations.”
Time will tell if Coutinho can now push on and help Barcelona to win multiple trophies this season, as that would certainly be the best way to convince his detractors and silence the critics.
Based on Wednesday night, finding consistency is arguably his biggest challenge, as given the opportunity to play alongside the likes of Suarez and Lionel Messi, the 26-year-old surely has to do more and regularly.