Barcelona coach Quique Setien gave misfiring striker Antoine Griezmann his backing after another disappointing night for the Frenchman in Tuesday’s 2-0 win against Leganes.
“It’s not easy to play on the inside. When so many people are around, you have to do very well to find the space. Griezmann does a commendable job for us. He scored today but it was ruled out, and he’s very important for us all.”
Barcelona took all three points thanks to a goal from 17-year-old starlet Ansu Fati and a second-half penalty by captain Lionel Messi.
Griezmann Can’t Catch a Break
Griezmann did manage to put the ball in the back of the net against Leganes from a cross by Nelson Semedo but saw his effort ruled out for a marginal offside.
The forward’s drought means he faces a fight to keep his place in the starting XI, particularly with Luis Suarez now back from a knee injury.
Fati’s goal ensures he will certainly be in Setien’s thinking, while Martin Braithwaite is also available and scored in Saturday’s 4-0 win over Real Mallorca.
Barcelona’s next game is a difficult clash away at Sevilla on Friday. Julen Lopetegui’s side are third in the table and will provide a stiff test of the Catalans’ title credentials.
Griezmann Under Scrutiny
Griezmann only joined Barcelona last summer from Atletico Madrid for €120 million, but he’s already come in for criticism from fans for his performances. There’s a sense that he simply does not fit into a forward line already including Lionel Messi and Suarez.
The forward came under scrutiny again after Tuesday’s showing:
Yet Setien’s post-match comments suggest he is willing to keep faith with his World Cup winner, although it’s clear that Griezmann will need to improve if he is to keep his place in the team long-term.
Setien’s team selection for Friday’s match should be intriguing. Griezmann has scored important goals this season, most recently against Napoli in the Champions League, and another against Sevilla would relieve some of the growing pressure.