Philippe Coutinho plays as if he is “dancing with the ball” and fans of Bayern Munich and Paderborn would have enjoyed his display in Saturday’s Bundesliga encounter, said head coach Niko Kovac.
Midfield playmaker Coutinho, on a season-long loan from LaLiga champions Barcelona, was influential as Bayern defeated Paderborn 3-2, assisting Serge Gnabry’s opener and scoring when his team-mate returned the favour.
Coutinho has impressed early on in his Bayern career and Kovac was full of praise for his showing at the Benteler-Arena.
“He [Coutinho] speaks for himself. At the end of the day, everyone who was at the stadium today, everyone who saw today’s game, was able to see once again the skills that he possesses, what kind of qualities he has with the ball,” Kovac said.
“At times it really looks like he’s dancing with the ball, you have to say it like that. He knows exactly what to do when, how and where with the ball.
“The first goal he assists magnificently, but immediately after the pass he sprints into the box because he also wants to score.
“And for his goal, the combination was the other way around. Serge [Gnabry] assists him after a superb pass. That’s individual quality.
“He will definitely help us even more, he’s already contributing well, he’s integrated and happy here.
“And when a player from South America, from Brazil, is happy, with that kind of quality, you can see how fantastic that is.
“No matter whether you’re a Paderborn, Bayern or any other supporter, you have enjoyed [his performance].”
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) September 28, 2019
Bayern were coasting at 2-0 after Coutinho’s goal in the 55th minute but efforts from Kai Proger and Jamilu Collins either side of Robert Lewandowski’s strike ensured a nervy ending.
“We made the game difficult for ourselves,” Kovac admitted. “We could’ve decided the match during the first half.
“In my opinion we had to decide it. Second half, going into it with a 1-0 lead, even when it’s 2-0 or 2-1, that’s always a small advantage.
“We brought them back into the match, we didn’t play the way I wanted in the second half, but I’m satisfied with the result.
“With the way we played, obviously I’m not satisfied. Therefore, there’s not much more to be added.”
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