He looked good – Valverde praises Griezmann after Atletico return

By Sports Desk December 02, 2019

Ernesto Valverde praised Antoine Griezmann's performance in the forward's return to Atletico Madrid as Barcelona claimed a 1-0 win on Sunday.

Facing his former club for the first time, Griezmann struggled to have an impact at the Wanda Metropolitano, where Lionel Messi's 86th-minute goal proved decisive.

Griezmann has scored five goals and provided three assists in 18 games since joining Barca from Atletico for a reported €120million in July.

The forward was again backed by Valverde, whose team returned to the top of the table with their hard-fought win.

"He looked good. It was a tough game for him. It's difficult when you face players you have played alongside for many years," the Barcelona head coach told a news conference.

"He was whistled a little bit. He was fighting and working hard. He had a really good chance and could maybe have controlled the ball better. It's something that happens when you come back to a place where you spent so long for the first time.

"That was what happened to Griezmann. He fought to overcome it and I think he played well."

Barcelona have won five straight games in all competitions and host Real Mallorca in LaLiga on Saturday.

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    - Arsenal are reportedly ready to splash the cash. The Sun says the Premier League side are set to spend £100million on Real Madrid's Dani Ceballos, Atletico Madrid's Thomas Partey and Lille's Gabriel Magalhaes, but must sell at least three players.

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  • Napoli must 'climb Everest' to beat Barcelona - Gattuso Napoli must 'climb Everest' to beat Barcelona - Gattuso

    Napoli will have to "climb Everest" if they are to overcome Barcelona in their Champions League last-16 tie this weekend, says Gennaro Gattuso.

    Following a 1-1 draw in Italy back in February, Barca have a narrow advantage due to the away-goals rule ahead of the return game at Camp Nou on Saturday.

    The Blaugrana have been disappointing since the restart – they surrendered a two-point lead in LaLiga to finish five adrift of eventual champions Real Madrid – leading to speculation over head coach Quique Setien's future.

    However, Napoli boss Gattuso still considers overcoming Barca to reach the quarter-finals in Lisbon to be one of the toughest challenges his team could face.

    "They are used to winning and I know that when you get used to winning you always want to do it. Tomorrow we have to climb Everest," Gattuso said on Friday.

    "In recent months I have heard many jokes, like 'Barcelona are not in shape', but if you go and watch them there are some players who put on a show.

    "We know it will be a very difficult match for us. We know what kind of team awaits us and we know we will have to make a great performance, both technically and tactically, and maybe that won't even be enough.

    "We know we're facing great champions. You need a great game to come out with a good result."

    Gattuso provided a positive update on the fitness of Lorenzo Insigne, who limped off during last weekend's victory over Lazio with a groin injury.

    "Yesterday he trained at 50 per cent. Today he was at 100 per cent with the team," said Gattuso.

    "I want to know he feels 100 per cent tomorrow. If he is not, he will not be on the pitch from the first minute. If he is at 100 per cent he will play and help us make a great game."

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