Saturday, February 24, 2018

Valverde: Barcelona need to be careful with Dembele

SoccerNews in La Liga 10 Feb 2018

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Ernesto Valverde will take no risks with Ousmane Dembele after the France international was given the all-clear to resume his Barcelona career on Saturday.

After his €105million move from Borussia Dortmund to Camp Nou in August, Dembele has made just seven appearances in all competitions due to hamstring injuries.

Dembele tore the muscle in only his second Barca appearance and spent three and a half months on the sidelines. He returned in January but suffered a relapse two weeks later.

The 20-year-old is back in contention to face Getafe on Sunday in LaLiga, though, and Valverde is keen to get him involved.

However, he will only feature if he is 100 per cent ready to contribute.

“[Dembele’s involvement] depends a lot on what he does,” Valverde told a media conference.

“Of course, he’s a player who we have many hopes pinned, but we need to be careful. He will be introduced little by little.

“Hopefully he can do things in this stage of the season that are decisive. He is the type of player who can help us, he has been slowly adapting to the team.

“Tomorrow is a good game for him to be involved.”

Dembele could vie for a starting spot in the closing months of the season with Philippe Coutinho, although the Brazilian appears to have settled well since his move from Liverpool.

Coutinho netted his first Barca goal in the Copa del Rey semi-final, second-leg victory over Valencia on Thursday, and Valverde expects him to keep improving.

“He’s looked good to me, obviously goals always help, they reinforce a player a lot,” added the Barca coach.

“Little by little I’m sure we’re going to see a lot more of him.”

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