Philippe Coutinho’s future at Barcelona is now under real threat after failing to take his chances against Girona at the weekend.
The Brazilian international is struggling. After falling behind Ousmane Dembele for a starting place in Ernesto Valverde’s side towards the end of last year – Coutinho has been in and out of the Spanish press – but for all the wrong reasons.
Poor form and a unwillingness to work for the team – the former Liverpool man sent his agent and people in to the Camp Nou to hold a meeting with club bosses, issuing his unhappiness at not playing regularly at the start of January.
His plan worked. Shortly after he was given the chance and told that he had a month to perform and prove himself.
The injury to Dembele fell in his favour, whilst a goal on a start against Levante and an assist against Eibar – saw him take his chance well, however, his performance since have severely deterioated.
Involved against Levante, Leganes, Sevilla and most recently, Girona – Coutinho has struggled.
Colleagues Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez have attempted to hand the Brazilian the very best chances, whilst Jordi Alba has done his very best to help Barca’s number seven.
But, something else is lacking. Coutinho can be forgiven for his missed one-on-one agaisnt Girona, where he did everything right except find the back of the net – but his workrate, desire to win the ball back and commitment to the cause is not what Barca fans, coaches or players are used to.
Pedro Rodriguez was perhaps the best example of this over the years. His pressing and determination to win the ball back was one of the reasons he was so successful at the club.
Even Suarez, does all of the above that Pedro once did – whilst Leo Messi, allowed to not press or work as hard (for obvious reasons) is willing to run the length of the pitch to get the ball back.
Dembele is on the verge of returning for Barca and it is now up to Coutinho to take his last chance against Sevilla on Wednesday evening.
A goal simply will not do it. An assist won’t help either…………………………….. but the correct attitude in front of the Camp Nou, might just.