Ernesto Valverde says Antoine Griezmann must do more to get involved in games following Barcelona’s 1-0 loss at Athletic Bilbao. Barca may have won the La Liga title in four of the last five years, but they endured a losing start to the new campaign as they were beaten 1-0 at the San Mames following a late Aritz Aduriz strike.
France international Griezmann was making his competitive debut for the Blaugrana following his €120million move from Atletico Madrid and started the match on the left of the front three before moving up front when Luis Suarez picked up a calf injury during the first half.
However, Valverde wasn’t too enamoured with the 28-year-old’s performance and has called on him to do more over the coming weeks to prove his worth. “If he is close to the box he can finish, he moves well, but you have to dominate the game for that to happen,” Valverde told Sport. “Putting him on the left, we knew that he will look for goal, but we have a left-back and players who can take the game. “We expect a lot from all the players and he has to look to get in the game more.”
Griezmann may have a more prominent role to play following Suarez’ injury, particularly as Lionel Messi was already sidelined for Friday’s match with his own calf issue.
Valverde insists they can’t blame Messi’s absence for Friday’s defeat, as they should have enough quality to cope when he’s not there. “We’re not all like him and we have to learn to cope when he’s not there,” Valverde added. “It’s inevitable to miss him, but we need to do other things too.”