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Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman explains why star forward played no part in win over Sevilla

Ronald Koeman has said that Antonie Griezmann was only left out for tactical reasons.
Ronald Koeman has said that Antonie Griezmann was only left out for tactical reasons.
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Modified 01 Mar 2021
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Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman has said that Antoine Griezmann didn't come on as a substitute during Barcelona's La Liga win over Sevilla purely due to tactical reasons.

The Blaugrana won the game 2-0, with Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele scoring the goals. That win moved them up to second in the 2020-21 La Liga, at least temporarily till Real Madrid play Real Sociedad on Monday night.

Griezmann didn't even come off the bench during Barcelona's win at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan. During the post-match press conference, Koeman said that Griezmann stayed on the bench because Barcelona had changed the system, and that they needed more pace for the new system to work.

"There is no message for Griezmann. We decided to change the system to have depth in the team, and that is why we put Dembele up front," Koeman said.

Dembele's pace meant Griezmann stayed on the Barcelona bench - Koeman

Antoine Griezmann has had a better second season at Barcelona than his first.
Antoine Griezmann has had a better second season at Barcelona than his first.

Koeman reiterated that he didn't intend to send any message to Griezmann with his team selection, and that it was only made to suit the tactical requirements of the particular match.

"With his (Dembele's) replacement, we needed someone faster than Antoine. At 1-0 in front, we decided that next to Leo we needed someone faster than Griezmann. It is no punishment."

Griezmann has mostly been played as a striker for Barcelona this season. The Frenchman is enjoying a better campaign after a disappointing 2019-20 season.

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The 29-year-old has tallied 12 goals and ten assists in all competitions this season, as Koeman still looks for the optimal way to use the players in his squad. Barcelona have a big month ahead of them now, as they look to mount a late push for the La Liga title following Atletico Madrid's faltering recent form.

Barcelona also have the small matter of a 4-1 deficit to overturn in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 against Paris Saint-Germain. They will need a miracle to progress to the quarterfinals when they take on the French giants at the Parc des Princes in a couple of weeks.

In addition, Barcelona also have a deficit to overturn in the second leg of their Copa Del Rey semifinal against Sevilla at the Camp Nou on Wednesday night.

Published 01 Mar 2021, 12:32 IST
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