Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez has played down suggestions that in-form attacker Ousmane Dembele picked up an injury during the team’s 1-1 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League on Thursday, Aprail 7.
Dembele was pictured talking to Barca’s head of medical services Dr Ricard Pruna after the final whistle, prompting fears among supporters that the Frenchman was set for more time on the sidelines.
Xavi was asked about Dembele’s fitness after the game and said he was not aware of an injury but would speak to the medical team, as reported by Sam Marsden of ESPN.
Marsden subsequently confirmed that Dembele is “fine” and was with Pruna because he needed to go through anti-doping after the final whistle.
However, Gerard Pique did pick up an injury and was forced off midway through the first half of the contest. Barca subsequently confirmed the center-back has suffered “adductor discomfort” and will require further tests to determine the severity of the problem.
Follow the Heavy on Barcelona Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Dembele & De Jong Make the Difference
Dembele actually started the game on the bench, along with Frenkie de Jong, as Xavi rotated his side for the trip to Germany. However, the coach called for both players just after the hour mark with his team trailing 1-0.
It proved to be a great decision by the Barca boss as the duo combined to tee up an equalizer for Ferran Torres just four minutes after arriving. The goal saw Barca rescue a draw and means the tie is still alive ahead of the second leg at the Camp Nou.
Goalscorer Ferran Torres shared his thoughts after the game and admitted it’s a valuable result for the Catalan giants, as reported by UEFA.
“To go behind but end up drawing might end up a very valuable result for the second leg. Frankfurt were a tough rival – they made things difficult,” he said. “The main thing was that we were patient and the reward was that we got a good equaliser. For a striker like me it’s always important to get your goals, to help the team. You always expect the quarter-finals of a UEFA competition to produce a tough rival but we are Barça, we are obligated to compete for every trophy and winning the Europa League is an objective.”
Xavi ‘Not Happy’ With Barcelona’s Performance
Xavi also opened up on his team’s performance and made it clear he was not happy with the way his team played against Eintracht Frankfurt. Barca went behind to a superb striker from Ansgar Knauff but could have conceded more.
The visitors were aided by some poor finishing from the Bundesliga side, and Xavi explained where his team need to improve ahead of the return fixture, as reported by UEFA.
“It was a tough and difficult game. They had good chances on transitions. We created fewer chances than normal and I am not happy with the performance, but I am happy with the result,” he said. “We suffered and I said we were not particularly lucky with drawing this opponent. Eintracht Frankfurt are a really difficult opponent and we have to deal better with their transitions.”
The two teams will play the second leg in a week’s time at the Camp Nou. The winners will progress to a semi-final against either West Ham United or Lyon.