“We needed him, and he delivered”

Barcelona boss Xavi Hernandez praised Ousmane Dembele for his clutch performance in Copa del Rey Round 32 encounters Linares Deportivo.

Dembele came on for Ilias Akhomach in the first half as the Blaugrana took a 1-0 lead against the little boys. The Frenchman made an impact 17 minutes later, delivering a low cut to bring class to his team-mates.

He also had another chance to score late, racing into the box, but his shot hit the crossbar.

The Blaugrana eventually sealed a 2-1 victory thanks to Ferran Jutgla’s excellent finish in the 69th minute. Speaking after the game, Xavi praised Dembele for being there when the team was in dire need of them. He said (as quoted by Barca Blaugranes):

“We needed him, and he delivered. He made the difference; he can also score another great goal; I am happy with him”.

However, Xavi also revealed that the club and the 24-year-old have yet to reach an agreement to extend his contract. He say:

“In terms of football there is nothing to say, very good one on one, that’s what we need; There is nothing new about renewal. ”

Dembele’s return to the squad after his absence due to COVID-19 is a positive for Barcelona tonight. The winger also scored his first goal of the season in his ninth appearance, after scoring two assists before.

However, all is well, Dembele will leave the Nou Camp on a free transfer in the summer. The Blaugrana are said to be looking to sell him in the near term, with the likes of Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain rumored to be interested.

‘It was a tough day’ – Xavi feels Barcelona struggle to match Linares’ intensity

Xavi admitted that he warned his players about getting complacent before the game, despite telling them they were the better unit overall. He say:

“I told my players that they were better than the opponent, but I told them that two things can happen to us, expulsion or not equal to the intensity of Linares, and this is exactly what it is. happened to us in the first few minutes.”

FT | Linares 1-2 Barcelona After several comebacks/late wins in the CDR last season, Barcelona start the 2021-22 Copa Del Rey season in the same style. Two goals in the second half of Dembele and Jutgla helped Barça seal a 1-2 victory.

The Barcelona boss added that no rival can be taken for granted, saying:

“It was a difficult day because everyone expected a win, but football is not like that anymore. It is difficult to attack an orderly team. We are seeing it; all La Liga teams suffer; everyone works tactically and physically.”

Xavi will be delighted that his team secured the win to advance to Round 16 of the Copa del Rey. Next, the Blaugrana will face Granada in La Liga. “We needed him, and he delivered”

Aila Slisco

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