Coutinho admits that Barça’s form ‘has not been what everyone expected’

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The Brazilian acknowledges that he has not delivered the merchandise consistently at the Camp Nou, but says he has developed a stronger mentality

Philippe Coutinho has admitted that his performances for Barcelona have not met expectations, but has asked for patience as the club continues to go through a “renewal process”.

Signed from Liverpool in 2018 in a deal with a potential value of 160 million euros (142 million pounds sterling), the Brazilian international has not had the desired impact at the Camp Nou.

Coutinho, who has scored 15 goals and provided nine assists in 60 La Liga appearances, spent last season on loan at Bayern Munich and won the hat-trick with Hansi Flick.

He returned to Barça for 2020-21 and has been directly involved in four goals in eight league outings, but the inconsistent form of the Catalans has not helped him prosper.

Coutinho started Saturday’s shocking 2-1 defeat in Cádiz, but managed only one shot and a key pass before being replaced by Ousmane Dembélé at half-time.

Given that Dembélé has suffered another hamstring injury, Coutinho is likely to start Tuesday against Juventus as Barça look to secure first place in their Champions League group.

While accepting that Barça are negotiating their way through a transition period and that their own form has not been as expected, Coutinho says they have become mentally and physically more robust.

“I know my form has not been what everyone expected,” said the 28-year-old before Juve’s arrival at Camp Nou. “Barça has everyone’s attention and what I can say is that I have worked much more mentally to be well, and today I consider myself stronger in that sense.

“We are in a process of renewal. We have changed the coach, the players … all this is part of the renewal process. You have to be patient and do everything you can to make things work as soon as possible.”

“Whenever you lose an important game, the atmosphere is one of frustration. But I see that everyone wants to change this moment that we are going through. Mentally, I am stronger than before and the team seems eager to change this.”

“I started working in a different way. It was necessary to have more strength. And mentally, it is the same. There are things that are making me stronger and, physically and mentally, I am doing a better job.”

Barça face Juventus knowing that they will finish at the top of the group if they avoid losing by three goals or more, or by a margin of two goals other than 2-0.

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