Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has explained his reason for leaving talisman Lionel Messi out of his starting XI for Saturday's game against Real Betis. Messi started on the bench but came on as a half-time substitute with the score tied at 1-1. The substitution paid off as the Argentine skipper inspired his team to a 5-2 victory at the Camp Nou.
Koeman revealed that Messi wasn't 100% fit for the game before the game and started on the bench as a precautionary measure.
"We spoke with Leo, who ended the Dynamo Kyiv game with a small problem and wasn't in shape to play from the start. He was on the bench in case we needed him. If he's good physically, he plays from the start. "
The Barcelona boss also spoke about French Striker Antoine Griezmann. The former Atletico star had a rollercoaster game, which saw him miss a penalty but redeem himself by scoring Barcelona's second of the match. The 29-year-old earned the praise of his manager for his performance and mental strength.
Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman heaps praise on Antoine Griezmann and reveals reason behind Lionel Messi's omission from the starting XI
"I hope Griezmann keeps working as he has done until now. To miss, you have to be in the right place. I would highlight his character to keep working. He knows perfectly when he's missed chances. Despite his bad luck, he's always there to score."
The goal was Antoine Griezmann's second of the season for Barcelona in nine appearances in 2020-21. Barcelona will be hoping the striker can use this goal to gain confidence and rediscover the form that made Barcelona spend €130 million to sign him from Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2019.
Barcelona fans will be thrilled with their side's performance on Saturday. The club scored five goals against Betis with Messi, Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele and, Pedri all finding the back of the net.
Barcelona are currently eighth in the La Liga table, after a run of poor results which saw them lose two and draw two of their previous four games. Nonetheless, the Catalan giants have started strongly in the UEFA Champions League and currently top Group G.Published 08 Nov 2020, 13:13 IST