Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman offered updates on the fitness of forwards Ousmane Dembele and Ansu Fati in his pre-match press conference on Tuesday ahead of the visit of Real Sociedad in La Liga.
The two players are both on the club’s injured list, along with defenders Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto, although Koeman confirmed Dembele could be back in first-team action shortly.
As reported by Marca, Koeman said that Dembele, “is training separately from the group, he’s working on his own and I can’t put a date on it. I hope it’s soon as he’s a player we need.”
The Frenchman suffered a hamstring injury in Barca’s La Liga defeat to Cadiz at the start of December. Dembele had been in good form before the problem, contributing four goals and two assists so far this season.
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Ansu Back For Champions League Tie?
Koeman also discussed teenage forward Fati who underwent knee surgery back in November and was subsequently ruled out for four months. The Barcelona boss said it was possible he could return in time for Barcelona’s Champions League tie with Paris Saint-Germain, as reported by Mundo Deportivo.
He is working to improve, it depends on how he evolves from the injury. I hope that he will be there when we play these games, PSG, but we must not take risks with him, especiallyw hen he is of the age he is. You cannot run much in this regard. With this type of injury it is difficult to know when he can return, we will not risk him.
Barca take on PSG in the Round of 16. The first leg will take place at the Camp Nou on February 16 which is likely to come too soon for Fati. However, the return game is not until March 11 in Paris which may be a possibility.
Fati had also started the season in strong form, scoring four goals in seven La Liga appearances. He also scooped the September Player of the Month award in La Liga before being injured in Barcelona’s 5-2 win over Real Betis.
Koeman Calls Barcelona Pressure
There’s no doubt the injuries to the duo have weakened the Barca attack and left Koeman with fewer options, particularly in wide positions.
The team has struggled this season, losing four of their first 11 matches, and Koeman also called on supporters to adjust their expectations, as reported by Reuters.
The pressure here is huge, everyone demands that you must win every game. But the club’s situation is different right now and you have to accept that we can’t win all the time.
Victory over Levante last time out eased some of the growing pressure on Koeman at Barcelona. However, his team face another difficult test on Wednesday against La Liga table-toppers Real Sociedad at the Camp Nou.
Imanol Alguacil’s men have played two games more than Barcelona in 2020-21 but will move 12 points clear of the Catalan giants if they take all three points and inflict a fifth league defeat of the campaign on Koeman’s men.