Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has offered some advice to Barcelona on how to improve in the wake of his team’s 3-0 win over the Catalan giants in the Champions League group stages.
The Bundesliga champions cruised to an impressive victory at the Camp Nou with Robert Lewandowski scoring twice and Thomas Muller also on target for the visitors.
Barcelona failed to manage a single shot on target throughout the 90 minutes, and Neuer thinks Barcelona need to use Philippe Coutinho more, as reported by journalist Maria Garrido.
“If Barca want to improve, they should put Coutinho on more,” he said. “I felt more fear when he came on and tried to score a goal against me. I know him very well and I know his talent, because we were teammates when he was at Bayern and in training we played against each other.”
Coutinho has only just returned from a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a knee injury that required surgery in January and again in April. The Brazilian’s appearance against Bayern was his first for Barcelona for 259 days.
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Coutinho To Start Against Granada?
The return to fitness of Coutinho comes at a good time for coach Ronald Koeman with Pedri, Ousmane Dembele, Sergio Aguero, Martin Braithwaite, and Ansu Fati all currently sidelined due to injury.
Coutinho could now make his first start of the season against Granada on Monday, although Koeman told a pre-match press conference ahead of the game at the Camp Nou that he’s not ready to play a whole game just yet.
“Coutinho he played some good minutes against Bayern,” he said. “He needs more rhythm of course and we will decide if he can start or not. He cannot yet play 90 minutes, so we will decide what’s best.”
The Brazilian is still being tipped to make the starting XI. According to Diario Sport‘s German Bona, the Brazilian will feature as part of a front three alongside Memphis Depay and Luuk de Jong.
Coutinho’s Last Chance at Barcelona?
This season could be Coutinho’s last chance to shine at Barcelona. The Brazilian has failed to live up to his huge price tag since joining from Liverpool in January 2019 for a reported fee of $170 million.
Coutinho’s contract expires in June 2023 which means Barcelona must decide at the end of the current season whether to try to find a buyer for the Brazilian or look to offer the former Liverpool man a new deal.
According to Marca, the club’s “policy” for players with just a year left on their contract is that “whoever does not renew his contract, will be offloaded in the summer before the deal comes to end.”
Coutinho has regularly been linked with a return to the Premier League, and his agent has previously admitted he would be happy to head back to England. The Brazilian does still have the chance to make an impact at Barcelona but will know time is running out.