Coutinho wants to 'achieve big things' after being given second Barcelona chance

By Sports Desk October 05, 2020

Philippe Coutinho is determined to "achieve big things" at Barcelona after being given a second chance at Camp Nou under Ronald Koeman.

The attacking midfielder scored his first goal since returning to LaLiga, netting the equaliser in Sunday's tough 1-1 home draw against Europa League winners Sevilla on Sunday.

Coutinho joined Barca from Liverpool in a reported €160million deal in January 2018 but struggled to assert himself in the first-team picture and was shipped out on loan to Bayern Munich last term.

At Bayern, Coutinho was part of the team that won a Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League treble under Hansi Flick but the Bavarians opted not to make the move permanent.

Coutinho's future was shrouded in doubt, with Arsenal and Tottenham having been touted as potential suitors, but the arrival of Koeman afforded him a fresh opportunity at Barca.

It is one Coutinho is keen to take, with the Brazil playmaker saying in quotes reported by Marca: "I've got a lot of hunger to work and achieve big things.

"It was a tough and difficult game [but] we knew that already. It ended up being like that.

"We've got a point and now we're going into the international break. When we return, it's about continuing to work.

"We've had a difficult first three games, but we're just getting started. We're used to this and we'll keep working. 

"Sevilla played very well. There were a lot of Sevilla players in the centre of midfield and that's why we struggled a bit. We have to correct that."

Coutinho celebrated his goal by tucking the ball under his shirt, as his wife is pregnant.

"My wife is pregnant and I wanted to dedicate my goal to her," he added. "It will be my third child."

Related items

  • Guti calls for Madrid to sign Neymar and Mbappe as he pokes fun at Barca's Griezmann Guti calls for Madrid to sign Neymar and Mbappe as he pokes fun at Barca's Griezmann

    Real Madrid great Guti said he would sign Paris Saint-Germain duo Neymar and Kylian Mbappe for Los Blancos, while mocking Barcelona's Antoine Griezmann.

    LaLiga champions Madrid have been heavily linked with a blockbuster move for PSG star Mbappe, who is out of contract in Paris at the end of the 2021-22 season.

    Neymar, who swapped Barcelona for PSG in a world-record €222million deal in 2017, has previously been linked with Madrid.

    As Madrid prepare for Saturday's Clasico against bitter rivals Barca at Camp Nou, Guti talked up Neymar and Mbappe while poking fun at Griezmann, who has struggled to establish himself since arriving from Atletico Madrid in 2019.

    "I'd sign Neymar and Kylian Mbappe for Real Madrid and for Barcelona I wouldn't sign anyone, just for Griezmann to stay," Guti, 43, said as he laughed while discussing the Clasico.

    "There are many great players in this game, but I'm going for the youngsters.

    "Surely it'll be Ansu Fati at Barcelona and Vinicius [Junior] at Real Madrid [who can make an impact]. They're very talented players who are going to bring a lot to LaLiga."

    Both Madrid and Barca will enter the Clasico on the back of LaLiga defeats, while the former were also stunned by Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.

    Madrid suffered a shock 1-0 loss to newly promoted Cadiz at the weekend and Lionel Messi's Barca succumbed to Getafe by the same scoreline.

    Zinedine Zidane's Madrid are a point adrift of Real Sociedad with a game in hand, while Barca are ninth and four points off the pace, having played a game less.

    "It won't determine who'll win LaLiga, but it is an important match," said Guti, who won five LaLiga titles and three Champions League trophies during his playing career at the Santiago Bernabeu. "Mentally, if a player does well or a team wins, then it can do you good for what is still to come in LaLiga.

    "It's a test for both of these teams to see what level they're at and to see what they can achieve this year."

  • Zidane says he can fix Real Madrid as pressure mounts after back-to-back losses Zidane says he can fix Real Madrid as pressure mounts after back-to-back losses

    Zinedine Zidane believes he can arrest Real Madrid's form slump and restore order amid growing pressure after the club's shock Champions League loss to Shakhtar Donetsk.

    Madrid suffered back-to-back home defeats in all competitions under head coach Zidane for the first time following Wednesday's 3-2 loss against visiting Shakhtar in their Group B opener, having been stunned 1-0 by newly promoted Cadiz in LaLiga at the weekend.

    Shakhtar led 3-0 at half-time as Madrid conceded three first-half goals in a Champions League match for the first time in 15 years, before Los Blancos rallied through Luka Modric and Vinicius Junior goals in the second 45 minutes but it was not enough.

    Pressure is mounting on Zidane ahead of Saturday's Clasico showdown against Barcelona after Madrid tasted a third consecutive Champions League defeat for the first time since 1986 but the under-fire boss remains convinced he is the right man for the job in the Spanish capital.

    "I see myself capable of fixing this, that's what I'm going to try," Zidane, whose Madrid were eliminated in the Champions League last 16 in 2019-20, said in his post-match interview. "And the players are going to try, too.

    "We are going to look for the solution and we're going to find it. Now we have to prepare for Saturday's game [away to Barcelona]."

    Out-of-favour forward Luka Jovic – who lasted 59 minutes before being replaced by Vinicius – spearheaded Madrid's attack with Karim Benzema on the bench, while Eder Militao partnered Raphael Varane in the absence of superstar captain Sergio Ramos.

    Shakhtar were missing 10 first-team players due to coronavirus but the Ukrainian visitors blew Madrid away in the first half at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, where strikes from Mateus Tete and Manor Solomon sandwiched a Varane own goal.

    "It's a bad feeling [that we have after this result], of course," Zidane said after Madrid lost their opening Champions League game at home for the first time ever. "It ended up being a mix of everything. We made a mistake leading up to the first goal and afterwards the truth is that we were missing a bit of confidence, a bit of action, a bit of everything in the first half.

    "I am happy for the players who reacted and changed in the second half, because they don't deserve such things. It was a bad game, a bad night. I'm the coach, I'm the one who needs to find a solution, and I'm not going to find it tonight."

    Zidane added: "I am responsible and since the first half was negative, I have not done something right. The first goal changed everything and [ultimately] cost us. But this [Champions League campaign] has just begun and we are not going to give up."

  • Messi preventing Griezmann from expressing himself at Barca – Wenger Messi preventing Griezmann from expressing himself at Barca – Wenger

    Lionel Messi is preventing Antoine Griezmann from expressing himself at Barcelona as the Frenchman continues to be overshadowed by the superstar captain, according to Arsene Wenger.

    Griezmann arrived from LaLiga rivals Atletico Madrid in a blockbuster €120million transfer last year but he has struggled to establish himself alongside Messi at Camp Nou.

    An unused substitute in Barca's 5-1 Champions League rout of Ferencvaros on Tuesday, Griezmann has failed to score in four LaLiga appearances this season – only managing one shot on target without creating a single chance.

    While Messi has just one league goal, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner has registered seven shots on target and created six chances for his team-mates.

    Former Arsenal manager Wenger believes France international Griezmann is being hindered by Messi's presence in his preferred central attacking position.

    "Not playing at his position is complicated in the long term," Wenger told beIN SPORTS.  

    "At the start, the guy accepts it but, if he does not meet his needs in the long term and he feels that the position does not allow him to express his qualities, he will become discouraged.

    "Today, he is a player who must play in the centre because he has a great work rate, a precision in his passes. 

    "He can be dangerous with the last pass and by scoring goals, but there is congestion because he is in the range of play of Messi."

    In his first season with Barca last time out, Griezmann scored nine goals, supplied four assists and created 33 chances in 35 LaLiga appearances.

    Griezmann finished 2019-20 with 15 goals in all competitions – a tumultuous campaign which saw Barca dethroned by bitter rivals Real Madrid and humiliated 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.

    The 29-year-old scored 133 goals in 257 games for Atletico between 2014 and 2019.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.