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Valverde Tight-Lipped On Coutinho

Valverde Tight-Lipped On Coutinho

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has refused to discuss if Philippe Coutinho will get the nod for the Champions League clash with Lyon.

Valverde would not be drawn as to whether Coutinho will start, the ex-Liverpool playmaker having been booed by supporters during the win over Rayo Vallecano at the weekend.

The Brazilian has scored eight goals in 39 games for Barca this season, but has been linked with a move to Manchester United as he struggles to land a regular first team berth.

Related: Lloris Reveals Top-Four Fears

Asked about him starting against Lyon with Ousmane Dembele a doubt, Valverde said: “How we handle our team internally is a private matter, between us.

“There are moments when you need to talk with the player and that are times when you don’t. “We hope to see the best of him, of course.”

The match may come too soon for Dembele (hamstring) and Thomas Vermaelen (thigh) as both have been rated as doubts for the match.

Since the draw at the Groupama Stadium, the Catalan giants have hit form, winning four consecutive games in all competitions, including two victories over Real Madrid, opening up a seven-point lead in La Liga.

The Spanish champions have won all three of their previous meetings with Lyon in Europe’s elite club competition at the Nou Camp.

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