Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde explained why he benched Philippe Coutinho for the club’s La Liga opener against Alaves. Valverde benched Coutinho because he did not want to start with too many players who had arrived from the World Cup.
Valverde said, “The two possibilities were Sergi Roberto or Coutinho and I didn’t want to overload the team with players who joined us late. We started last year with this midfield and it has great strength. If we had scored in the first half, then we could have delayed our changes, but we missed a player who could take shots on goal and I thought of Coutinho.”
The Brazilian eventually came on as a second half substitute, replacing Nelson Cabral Semedo. He scored Barcelona’s second goal of the game in the 83rd minute. Lionel Messi added a third and his second of the match in stoppage time and the Blaugrana won 3-0.
Barcelona play their next La Liga fixture against Real Valladolid on Saturday.