Thursday, September 20

La Liga

Barcelona

Aug 15, 2018 at 5.15pm UK
Barcelona
3-0
Boca Juniors
Malcom (18'), Messi (39'), Rafinha (67')
FT(HT: 2-0)

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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'.

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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