Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has revealed why he thinks Philippe Coutinho has looked back to his best form at the club this season.
The Brazilian has returned to the Camp Nou after a loan spell with Bayern Munich. Coutinho struggled to make an impact at Barca after his move from Liverpool in January 2018 but has looked rejuvenated in the club’s first two La Liga games of the season.
Koeman was asked at his pre-match press conference on Saturday why Coutinho seems transformed this season and was happy to talk about the Brazilian.
“That’s a good question and the answer is easy, he’s a really good player. What’s more, he’s a player who learned a lot in England, a great deal at Bayern in terms of work. My job as a coach is to get the best out of each player. And that starts with putting the player in the position they play best. I think that gives them greater confidence. You can only start with the quality the player has and Coutinho is a great player.”
Coutinho scored two goals in three pre-season outings for Barcelona under Koeman and has picked up assists in the wins over Villarreal and Celta Vigo.
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Coutinho Earns Praise For Celta Showing
The Brazilian enjoyed one of his best games in a Barcelona shirt on Thursday at Celta. Coutinho impressed in attack alongside Ansu Fati and Lionel Messi and helped the team to an important win despite losing Clement Lenglet to a red card in the first half.
Coutinho was named man of the match after the full-time whistle and earned plenty of praise for his performance at Balaidos.
Best Coutinho has played in a long time. Confident, adventurous, aggressive. Looking for Messi but not daunted by him. Coming inside but not crowded out. Great to see him playing like that again, hope it lasts.
— Tom Allnutt (@TomAllnuttAFP) October 1, 2020
Coutinho with two quality performances to start off his La Liga campaign.
Keep it up! 🎩 pic.twitter.com/oQzyYbMJ5L
— Brasil Football 🇧🇷 (@BrasilEdition) October 1, 2020
I liked Coutinho and still do, but what he had shown on pitch had been nothing short of disastrous.
These two performances have been great, and I hope he keeps up, he’s one of the best if he recovers his form.
— Rafael Hernández (@RafaelH117) October 1, 2020
I rewatched Barcelona against Vigo and while still very early, the team looks solid. Messi looked sharp and determined, Fati is bringing in the youth spirit, Coutinho probably had his best Barcelona match to date, de Jong looks like de Jong of the Netherlands, just great.
— Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) October 2, 2020
Koeman and Barcelona will be hoping Coutinho can continue his early-season form on a consistent basis and start to repay his huge transfer fee. The Brazil international cost Barcelona a reported fee of $170 million when he joined and remains Barca’s record signing.