Favre defends Sancho benching after goalscoring cameo against Barca
Lucien Favre reiterated his demand for renewed focus from Jadon Sancho despite the Borussia Dortmund sensation's goalscoring display off the bench against Barcelona in the Champions League.
Sancho was named among the substitutes before coming off the bench in the second half to reduce the deficit in Dortmund's 3-1 defeat to Barca at Camp Nou on Wednesday.
Favre dropped Sancho – who was also hauled off in the first half of a 4-0 Klassiker rout at the hands of Bayern Munich earlier this month – for the midweek showdown after telling Sky Sports pre-game: "We need players on the pitch who are focused and ready".
The 19-year-old's axing prompted fresh questions over his future amid growing links to Manchester United, Liverpool, Barcelona and Real Madrid.
After goals from Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann put the Group F contest beyond reach, Sancho provided a reminder of his immense quality with a fierce 77th-minute strike.
Asked why Sancho was benched post-match, head coach Favre told reports: "I explained it before starting the game.
"I needed very focused players to press and that's why I named that XI."
Dortmund team-mate Mats Hummels was also quizzed on England international Sancho and he said: "I don't want to talk about it. He played really well in the second half, was really involved and scored a great goal."
The result leaves Dortmund third and level on seven points with second-placed Inter heading into the final matchday.
Dortmund face Slavia Prague on December 10, while Inter welcome Group F winners Barca to Milan on the same day.
"The last 20 minutes were really good, we scored and could have scored when it was 2-0," Favre, who is under growing pressure at the club, added. "We then are in a one-on-one situation in defence, and that's tough when you are up against Suarez and Messi.
"It's difficult to play here, they have many players who can make the difference. It's a very tricky phase for us at the moment, but I am convinced we can manage to turn things around."Modified 21 Dec 2019, 01:10 IST