Ronald Koeman discussed the return to form of French forwards Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele ahead of Barcelona’s La Liga clash with Cadiz on Saturday.
The duo have impressed for the Catalan giants in recent weeks after some difficult times at the Camp Nou and were both on target in the midweek win over Ferencvaros in the Champions League.
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Koeman on Griezmann
Griezmann opened the scoring with a clever backheel that made it five goals in his last seven appearances for Barca. The Frenchman is in red-hot goalscoring form after failing to find the back of the net in his first six appearances for his club in 2020-21.
The Frenchman seems to have thrived since Koeman brought Martin Braithwaite back into the team to play as a No. 9, but the Dutch coach insists that is not the only reason for Griezmann’s recent improvement.
Griezmann is a great player who can play in different positions. The change is not just because he plays in other positions or because of Braithwaite but also because of his confidence. Everyone can have a tough time. He’s working hard and trying to do his best in the training sessions. It starts with that mentality and in the end, the good players show that on the pitch.
Griezmann has scored in his last three matches in a row and will fancy his chances of extending that run against Cadiz. Saturday’s opponents are yet to win at home in La Liga this season and have kept just two clean sheets at the Estadio Ramón de Carranza in 2020-21.
Dembele Making the Difference
Dembele is another player in the goals for Barcelona. The Frenchman has been plagued by injury since making the switch from Borussia Dortmund in 2017 but has worked his way back to full fitness since undergoing surgery on a torn hamstring in February.
The forward has been carefully managed by Barcelona this season but his goal on Wednesday was his fourth of the season. Interestingly, three of Dembele’s goals have come in the Champions League where’s he’s also picked up two assists.
Koeman feels Dembele is growing in confidence and admitted he’s been pleased by the Frenchman’s recent form.
The first thing that’s changed is he’s improved physically. For any player to perform, they need to be in their best shape. Little by little he’s gaining more confidence. You notice he’s happy recently. We keep going, working on things, but I’m very happy with him.
There’s no doubt that Dembele’s return to fitness has been a boost for Barcelona, and the club will be hoping he can finally stay injury-free. There’s also a suggestion that Dembele still has plenty more to offer Barcelona if he can continue to enjoy regular game time.
Barcelona’s attack is certainly in healthy shape ahead of their next outing. The team has scored 11 times without reply in their last three matches in all competitions. Barca’s last visit to Cadiz came back in 2005-06 when they ran out 3-1 winners.