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Aug 15, 2018 at 5.15pm UK
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Ernesto Valverde calls for patience over Luis Suarez

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde defends the recent performances of Luis Suarez and backs the striker to 'gradually get up to speed'.
By , Football League Correspondent | 3mo

Ernesto Valverde has insisted that it is just a matter of time before Barcelona striker Luis Suarez finds his feet.

The Uruguay international returned late to pre-season after featuring five times for his national side in this summer's World Cup.

Suarez has since looked off the pace, missing a couple of good chances in the Supercopa win against Sevilla and failing to find his stride in the 3-0 friendly victory against Boca Juniors.

With Malcom and Ousmane Dembele pushing for a starting role alongside Lionel Messi, there have been suggestions that Suarez may have to settle for a backup role this term.

Valverde points to last season, though, when the 31-year-old recovered from a disappointing start to net a credible 25 goals in La Liga, as reason enough to stick by him.

"Luis is fine," he told reporters. "He's only just coming back from his [post-World Cup] break, so he's gradually getting up to speed, but he looks good.

"Luis is a goalscorer. He's aggressive in the area. We know what he gives us. Regardless of his success [in front of goal], the fight is always there.

"Last year, at the beginning, there were criticisms because it took him a while to start scoring, but when he started he did not stop. He guarantees fight in front of the goal. It's a matter of patience and perseverance, and what Luis has is perseverance."

Suarez was a second-half sub in the Joan Gamper Trophy match against Boca, with Malcom, Messi and Rafinha all registering.


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