Ernesto Valverde gave his backing to Ousmane Dembele, Yerry Mina and Lucas Digne after Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Getafe at Camp Nou.
Mina made his first start for Barcelona and partnered Digne at the heart of the defence, with Samuel Umtiti out injured and Gerard Pique struggling with injury.
Meanwhile, Dembele made his return from injury and looked tentative at times and could not find a way past an organised Getafe side.
Valverde acknowledged after the game that Dembele had not been at his best, but gave his back to the youngster as he bids to return to full match fitness.
“Dembele came on at a moment when we thought he could help us out by running at players in one-on-one situations,” he said.
“Maybe you could tell that he’s not played a lot of football recently, though, because it didn’t go quite as well as he would have liked against a strong opponent.
”He had to try and use his strengths, which is when he’s up against players and driving at them. He didn’t have much luck with that today, but it’s better that he tried those things than to not try anything.
“The positive news was the performance of the two centre-backs, Yerry and Lucas, who both did well,
“Lucas was out of position and it was Yerry’s first start, so it wasn’t the usual defence but we got through the game without too many scares.
”At the beginning they had to adapt quickly because Getafe were pressing high. They got better as the game went on and we were able to play out from the back as usual. We are happy with them because it was a difficult role.”
Source | ESPN
Dembele’s price tag, and the fact he’s been out for so long, means expectations on the 20-year-old are pretty high as he makes his comeback.
He’s clearly going to need time to find his feet at Barca, but let’s hope he can stay fit now and start to show us all exactly what he we all know he can do.