March 22, 2018

Philippe Coutinho: 'Ousmane Dembele is a great player'

12 March 2018, 06:56 | Donald Newman

Ousmane Dembele joined Barcelona from Borussia Dortmund last AugustReuters

Ousmane Dembele

Luis Suarez headed in a fine opener after 15 minutes before Philippe Coutinho added a second with a neat flick and Malaga midfielder Samuel Garcia saw red following a rash tackle from behind on Jordi Alba.

Valverde also praised Ousmane Dembele following his performance, which also drew plaudits from team-mate Coutinho. "We're Barca and there's a lot of pressure here, so for that reason there's been a lot of focus on him".

Coutinho said: "Leo is the best in the world, we always need him".

Coutinho, relishing a free creative role with no Messi in the side, was close to his second of the night when some smart interchanges saw Paulinho lay-off to his compatriot but Roberto was equal to yet another risky effort. "But there's still a way to go".

Following on from the Champions League victory over Paris St Germain, another success for Zinedine Zidane's side means they have won eight of their last nine matches across all competitions. "But it's not like that".

"These are more than just three points", Moreno said.

Dembele, who was having an impressive game, stung the gloves of Roberto on a couple more occasions but the keeper was up to the task when called upon for the first 20 minutes of the second half.

Dembele sent a volley wide as Barcelona started the second half on the front foot. You begin to think about the game on Wednesday. The first leg finished 0-0.

Spain worldwide Rodrigo Moreno scored either side of half-time to inflict a third home defeat in little more than two months on Sevilla, whose best chance of getting back into Europe's elite competition now likely rests on them winning the tournament. "We're hopeful but everything is still to be decided".

The Barcelona forward confirmed the birth of his third son, Ciro, soon after on Saturday afternoon.

They have lost their last six league games since winning 2-0 away at Real Sociedad on December 10, 2017. Yet both should be fine for the Chelsea game, with Barca leaving it late before taking a decision on Andres Iniesta's fitness.

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