Barcelona fans called on manager Ronald Koeman to bench Antoine Griezmann and replace the World Cup winner with 21-year-old Francisco Trincao after Tuesday’s emphatic Champions League win over Ferencvaros.
Trincao started the game in place of Griezmann at the Camp Nou for his first Barcelona start since joining the club in the summer from Portuguese side Braga. It was also Trincao’s first ever Champions League appearance.
The youngster put in an impressive performance in the 5-1 win on the right wing and certainly did enough to convince supporters he deserves a place in the starting XI.
Trincao was replaced on 63 minutes by Ousmane Dembele when Koeman made a triple change with his team already 3-1 up. Dembele also staked a claim for a place by scoring Barca’s fifth goal of the match.
The Frenchman’s strike was his first goal since October 2019 and came after good work from Lionel Messi. The captain was also on target, scoring the opening goal from the penalty spot after being fouled in the first half.
Philippe Coutinho, Ansu Fati, and Pedri were Barcelona’s other goalscorers on a good night for the Catalan giants in Europe’s top competition.
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Selection Headache for Koeman?
Barcelona’s performance against Ferencvaros may just have given Koeman food for thought and something of a selection headache ahead of Saturday’s La Liga match against old rivals Real Madrid at the Camp Nou.
Griezmann has come under scrutiny after failing to score so far this season for Barcelona, and the Catalan giants’ impressive win without the Frenchman in the team will not help his cause.
Trincao and Pedri will now both be pushing for starts, while Coutinho and Fati look guaranteed spots in the team to face Real Madrid after scoring. Meanwhile, Messi is also expected to lead the team out once again.
Barca’s win sets them up nicely for the visit of Los Blancos. The Catalans failed to beat their bitter rivals in La Liga last season, and lost their league title to Zinedine Zidane’s side, but can make it a good week with victory on Saturday.
Yet the game was marred slightly by defender Gerard Pique’s red card. The sending off means Pique is available to play El Clasico but will be forced to sit out Barcelona’s second Champions League group game at Juventus next week.
Koeman Talks Griezmann & El Clasico
Koeman was asked about Griezmann and El Clasico in his post-match news conference and warned supporters not to read too much into the Frenchman’s absence, as reported by AS.
It does not mean anything. Today we have opted for Trincao and then Ousmane entered for speed and depth. And we’ll see. Saturday is another game. We will go out with the best team that we think of at the moment.
In general, I am not worried about the game on Saturday. We played a good game. We had a hard time getting into the game. Sometimes we have the problem that if we lower the intensity and let the opponents play, we are in trouble. If we command the rhythm of the game, we are very good. There was a great Barça in the first 20 minutes of the second half.
It will be fascinating to see whether Koeman does decide to keep faith with Griezmann for the visit of Real Madrid or if he’s willing to trust one of his young stars in such a huge fixture.