Coutinho had to make do with a place on the bench before replacing Iniesta (REUTERS/Vincent West)Ernesto Valverde said his decision to relegate Philippe Coutinho to the bench for Barcelona’s latest La Liga contest was for the good of the team.
There was surprise that the £142million signing was not in the starting XI to play Eibar as he is ineligible to play in Barcelona’s Champions League contest with Chelsea this coming week.
But rather than using Coutinho in order to give another player a rest before Tuesday, Valverde named the ex-Liverpool player on the bench before introducing him in the 60th minute.
Andres Iniesta came in for the 2-0 win which saw goals from Luis Suarez and Jordi Alba.
Coutinho in action (EPA/GORKA ESTRADA)‘I think it was best for my team to try to win,’ Valverde explained.
‘Last week Coutinho started, Iniesta didn’t, so this week Iniesta started.
‘It’s true that on Tuesday we have another match but for me the most important thing was this match.
‘On Tuesday, let’s see, I know Coutinho cannot play, but we will do something.’
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The win over Eibar followed back-to-back draws for Barcelona and got their title tilt back on track. They are now 10 points clear of second-place Atletico Madrid, who have a game in hand.
Since making his January switch Coutino has made seven appearances and scored once.
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