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.

It was all so predictable. From Lionel Messi's late heroics to Antoine Griezmann's frosty reception and his subsequent stunted display, very little about Barcelona's 1-0 win at Atletico Madrid on Sunday was even remotely surprising.

If it wasn't already, this had been arguably the most anticipated non-Clasico match in the Spanish football calendar ever since Griezmann's July move was confirmed.

That transfer ended a protracted saga that included one new contract, a 'documentary' and allegations of deception and shady negotiations.

Although Griezmann opted to remain with Atletico last season, documenting in excruciating detail his thought process in 'Le Decision', that contrived and narcissistic video certainly damaged his relationship with Colchoneros fans.

Perception of Griezmann worsened after it was alleged Barca and Griezmann began discussions before his release clause dropped from €200million to €120m, leaving Atletico adamant they were owed a further €80m.

If they didn't enjoy the soap opera that was the transfer saga, Atletico fans may at least have taken a hint of pleasure in Griezmann's early struggles at Barca.

The Frenchman doesn't appear to have improved them in any way, and that was the overriding feeling again after on Sunday.

Perhaps his sheepishness could be put down to the vociferous welcome reserved for him from the home support, some of whom added certain decorations to Griezmann's plaque outside the stadium before the match.

Every player to represent Atletico 100 times is honoured with a plaque outside their new stadium, though toy rats and a red cross were the most prominent new additions to Griezmann's on Sunday.

The abuse and scorn surely would've gone into overdrive had he found the net, though in reality he never looked a threat.

As has been the case for much of his career, Griezmann is at his most deadly when occupying a central position, where he can exploit even minimal spaces and do the unexpected.

Before the interval, however, he only popped up in such a position once, as he took up possession and found Luis Suarez, who lashed just wide from distance.

Otherwise he spent most of his time isolated and offering little on the left flank, the match passing him by.

After a cagey start to the second half, proceedings began to open up around the hour mark and you could be forgiven for expecting that to play into the hands of Griezmann and Barca.

Yet Griezmann remained on the periphery, barely making a squeak as chaos roared around him, the visitors clinging on for dear life.

"You wanted to be a name and you forgot to be a man," read a banner unfurled by Atletico fans, but he's failing to live up to his name at Barca.

He might have seen an opportunity for glory deep into the second half when he appeared to make a great run in behind Kieran Trippier, needing only to be fed by the marauding Messi.

But instead of slipping Griezmann through, which seemed to be the easier option, Messi used Suarez.

There was one exchange of passes and then – whack! Messi found the bottom-left corner, opting to stick to the tried and tested combination of himself and Suarez.

The ineffectiveness of Griezmann's display was entirely in keeping with the rest of his Barca career.

Suarez was the only outfield Blaugrana player – excluding substitutes – who touched the ball fewer times than Griezmann, yet the Uruguayan still proved more effective, teeing up Messi for that winner.

Although a night that began with a chorus of jeers ended with an embrace from Messi, Griezmann is feeling anything but the love after choosing to "be a name" at Barca.

Clashes between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are always fascinating occasions, with two completely different philosophies pitted against each other.

But Sunday's contest at the Wanda Metropolitano will be intriguing for an entirely new reason – the return of Antoine Griezmann.

The France international's move to Barca was somewhat acrimonious, with Atletico convinced he was talking to his new club long before his release clause dropped from €200million to €120m.

Atletico fans had long been frustrated with Griezmann's behaviour, particularly after his 'Decision' documentary last year showed him considering a move before eventually signing a new deal.

Yet, for all the build-up, drama and soap opera-like twists and turns, Griezmann's adaptation at Camp Nou has been underwhelming.

Ahead of Griezmann's return to the Wanda, we took a look at Opta data to examine how Barca are faring since signing the forward, whether Atletico are suffering without him and how he is doing individually.

Griezmann struggling to influence

It's difficult to find evidence that shows Griezmann has improved Barca in any way. The data suggests they are less effective with him in the team.

Across Barca's 61 matches last season, they averaged 2.3 goals and 2.2 points per match. Both figures have dropped, to 2.2 and 2.1, respectively, while they're winning with less regularity as well, down to 64.7 per cent from 67.2 per cent.

It's a similar story with respect to shots, with their average per match now 11.9 with Griezmann. Last season they recorded 15.3 attempts per game.

In Griezmann's 17 games for Barca, they have a passing accuracy of 78.6 per cent in the final third and 84.4 per cent in the opposing half. Once again, those figures are less than last term (79.2 per cent and 85.1 per cent).

While it would be unfair to suggest Griezmann is to blame in every area, a lack of fluency and effectiveness in Barca's attack this season is difficult to deny.

Yet to find his niche

A relative decrease in productivity can be expected to a certain degree when changing teams, particularly given the contrasting styles imposed by Atletico and Barca, but few would have predicted Griezmann's individual contributions to suffer as much as they have.

At Atletico last term, Griezmann scored 21 goals, laid on 11 assists and created 88 chances in 48 matches. As such, that equates to finding the net every 2.2 games, averaging 4.3 matches per assist and crafting 1.8 opportunities per outing.

This season, Griezmann has scored five times, got three assists and created 12 chances in 17 games.

That means he is only scoring once every 3.4 matches, almost double his record for last term, averaging 5.6 games per assist and laying on just 0.7 chances in each match.

Barca more lethal without Griezy

Griezmann has been out of the starting XI three times for Barca this season and the data does him few favours.

Barca have a 100 per cent winning record and average 4.0 goals in those games, double what they have been scoring with him in the line-up.

Without Griezmann Barca are averaging 15.3 shots each match, a 3.8 increase than when he does feature in the starting XI.

Barca have seen less of the ball across those matches, registering 54.4 per cent possession compared to 65.1 per cent with Griezmann. However, that metric combined with their shot average suggests the Blaugrana are more ponderous and less incisive when the Frenchman plays.

A new era

Atletico have seen a slight decrease across some areas compared to last season since Griezmann's exit.

When the France star featured for Simeone's men, they averaged 1.5 goals and 2.0 points per match. Their figures are down to 1.3 and 1.9, respectively, this term, while Atleti's win percentage is down from 56.2 per cent to 50 per cent.

But the difference in many other areas is negligible, and in fact, they are averaging more shots and conceding fewer efforts at goal since Griezmann left.

At the moment it seems Atletico are slightly less clinical and decisive without Griezmann, though it's difficult to argue they are actually missing him. At least, not the Griezmann who featured for them in 2018-19.

Luis Suarez has told Barcelona team-mate Ousmane Dembele and club doctors to find a solution to his injury problems following another setback.

Dembele went off in the first half of the 3-1 Champions League win over former club Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday due to a thigh injury.

The winger is due to have tests to determine the extent of the damage, but he is likely at least to miss Sunday's LaLiga showdown with Atletico Madrid.

Dembele has suffered three thigh problems in 2019 as part of a succession of injuries that have blighted his Barca career since moving from Dortmund in August 2017 for an initial €105million fee.

The 22-year-old, who has started only five matches in all competitions this season, has also had his professionalism called into question during a difficult time in Spain.

Suarez has now urged the player and medical staff to do their utmost to halt Dembele's problematic injury record.

"Dembele and the doctors have to try and find a solution to his injuries," Suarez said after the match, as quoted by Sport.

"[They have to find out] how he keeps getting injured after he has recovered. We hope he's back with us soon."

Suarez broke the deadlock at Camp Nou on Wednesday before setting up Lionel Messi for the second goal, and the Argentina star played in Antoine Griezmann - who came on for Dembele - to score the third.

Jadon Sancho pulled a goal back for Dortmund but Barca saw out a win that secured their place in the next round.

While he says his partnership with Messi has become easy after five years at the club, Suarez admitted they were eager to get Griezmann a goal to boost his confidence after a run of six appearances in all competitions without scoring.

"I've always said that spending time together, being with each other day to day, for so many years, playing games together makes the connection with Messi easy," Suarez said. 

"You start [running] knowing that he's going to put the ball in front of you. We always look for the best option. It's normal that we find each other because we're the two main forwards."

He added: "As has happened with other team-mates, knowing [Griezmann] was struggling to score, when we were up we looked for him. Antoine did spectacularly: he had chances and he scored. It's important for his confidence."

Lionel Messi starred on his 700th appearance for the club as Barcelona comfortably beat Borussia Dortmund 3-1 at home to progress to the knockout rounds of the Champions League.

Barcelona already topped Group F but have confirmed their place in the next phase, with Dortmund 's fate no longer in their own hands on the closing matchday.

Luis Suarez scored from Messi's pass to open the scoring at Camp Nou on Wednesday and then turned provider for the skipper as Barca scored twice in the space of five first-half minutes.

Messi, reportedly set to win a sixth Ballon d'Or next week, added a second assist to a typically glittering individual display by setting up Antoine Griezmann to seal matters after the break with substitute Jadon Sancho firing home late on for Dortmund.

Nico Schulz almost scored a second-minute opener for Dortmund but found Marc-Andre ter Stegen equal to his effort with Messi then unusually wasteful from a free-kick at the other end.

Suarez was flagged offside after converting Messi's throughball but the same combination led to the opener in the 29th minute, the Uruguay striker coolly converting.

Messi added a second, an arrowed finish from Suarez's pass, with Barca bursting into life after ex-Dortmund forward Ousmane Dembele had to be replaced by Griezmann due to a thigh injury.

Under-fire Dortmund boss Lucien Favre sent on Sancho at the break and Messi was then booked for diving by referee Clement Turpin after going down easily in the box.

Ter Stegen saved from Julian Brandt on the hour and that miss proved key as Barca broke clinically, Messi sending Griezmann clear to slot home his first Champions League goal for the club. 

Sancho smashed home a super strike to give Dortmund a consolation, but they must better Inter's result at home to Barcelona when the Bundesliga side face Slavia Prague at home next month.


What does it mean? Dortmund's problems mount

It is now 10 goals conceded in three games in all competitions for Dortmund, who would likely have lost by a greater scoreline had Barcelona kept their foot on the throttle.

Ernesto Valverde called for perspective over Barca's own issues before the game and with his team top of LaLiga and into the next round, he might have a point. He can point to the biggest competitive crowd of the season to answer his critics, too.


Mesmerising Messi leads Barca again

Barcelona did not get going until after Dembele's latest injury, with Messi taking the game by the scruff of the neck. Within just a few minutes he had created two goals for Suarez, though one was chalked off, and scored one of his own to put the game beyond Dortmund before later setting up Griezmann and hitting the crossbar with a free-kick. 

He only hit top form for that brief period in the first half, but it was enough to win the points for Barca, though a rare booking for simulation was a bum note on a performance that saw him set yet another record. Messi has now scored against 34 opponents in the Champions League, one more than Raul and old rival Cristiano Ronaldo.


Favre on the brink

Dortmund coach Favre named a strange lineup with four full-backs included and star man Sancho on the bench, with his side quickly overrun in midfield after a bright start.

A 4-0 Klassiker thrashing away to Bayern Munich recently piled pressure on Favre and his position is even more insecure after another one-sided defeat.


What's next?

Dortmund are away to Jurgen Klinsmann's Hertha Berlin on Saturday, the day before Barcelona are away to Atletico Madrid in a huge LaLiga clash. On the last day of the Champions League group stage on December 10, Barca go to Inter and Dortmund host Slavia.

Antoine Griezmann dropped to the bench as Lionel Messi was selected for a 700th Barcelona appearance in Wednesday's Champions League Group F encounter with Borussia Dortmund.

Griezmann's fellow France international and ex-Dortmund star Ousmane Dembele will start on the left of Ernesto Valverde's front three alongside Messi and Luis Suarez.

Ivan Rakitic comes into the midfield for only his second start of the campaign, with Arthur joining Griezmann among the replacements.

Barca are top of the group on eight points – one ahead of Dortmund, who are in turn three points better off than Inter in third with two matches remaining.

Lucien Favre's men have struggled domestically of late, forced to come from 3-0 down to claim a 3-3 Bundesliga draw against struggling Paderborn last Friday.

England winger Jadon Sancho scored to launch the fightback but begins on the bench at Camp Nou.

Antoine Griezmann revealed he is lacking confidence with decision making, while the Barcelona star said the relationship between himself and Lionel Messi is improving.

Griezmann has struggled to convince since arriving from LaLiga rivals Atletico Madrid in a €120million transfer at the start of the season.

The France international has scored four LaLiga goals and supplied three assists for Barca, however, his performances have been underwhelming.

Ahead of Wednesday's Champions League clash against Borussia Dortmund, Griezmann told UEFA.com: "I'm in the process of learning and understanding how my team-mates play as everything is new to me.

"I'm still trying to read the runs and off the ball movement from the likes of Luis Suarez, Leo Messi and Ousmane Dembele along with the midfielders. It's my intention to get to grips with this as soon as possible so I can offer my all to the team but at times it's tricky.

"At present when I get the ball I have a certain lack of confidence in when to pass or when to shoot on goal, this I'm sure is something that will change with the passing of time."

Much has been made about the relationship between Griezmann and superstar Barca captain Messi.

Last month, Griezmann admitted to finding it "difficult" to connect with Messi as neither of them are naturally big talkers.

"I'm pretty shy and sometimes have problems talking to others," Griezmann said. "It's rare that I strike up a conversation. Luis [Suarez], Leo and myself have had meals together and the relationship can only improve over time."

On Messi, Griezmann added: "He's the type of player that we're not going to see again for at least 40 years and it's a joy to watch him in action. It really is a privilege to play alongside him."

Luis Suarez says when Gerard Pique speaks "sometimes you have to take everything with tweezers" after the defender said Barcelona stars were ready to alter their salaries to accommodate the return of Neymar.

Brazil star Neymar was heavily linked with a switch back to Camp Nou just two seasons after making a record-breaking €222million move to Paris Saint-Germain.

However, Barca were unable to strike an agreement with PSG despite the best efforts of LaLiga's champions.

Centre-back Pique said last month: "We didn't stump up money.

"What we said to the president was whether we could change our contracts because we knew there was a Financial Fair Play issue... so we said to the president, rather than earn something in year one, we could earn it in year two or three or four."

Star forward Suarez, who formed a devastating trio with Lionel Messi and Neymar at Barca, insists the players had no involvement with the talks and believes not everything Pique said should be taken at face value.

"When Geri speaks, sometimes you have to take everything with tweezers," Uruguayan Suarez told Sport.

"He has a lot of work and a lot of experience in making statements. In this case he knows and is aware that the players were totally out in the case of Ney.

"We were willing to welcome him or any player who wants to come, but always oblivious to the case."

Suarez also insisted everything is well with close-season signing Antoine Griezmann and his integration with Barcelona's squad.

It was reported captain Messi objected to the signing of the former Atletico Madrid forward due to his desire for Neymar to return, although the Argentinian branded such suggestions as a "lie".

Suarez said: "[His integration has been] spectacular, sometimes things are misunderstood. Both Leo and I and Geri himself welcomed him a year earlier, said he was a great player and was one of the best in the world.

"He came from being world champion and we already praised him. Then we didn't know what was going to happen to him, we weren't sure he was coming this year.

"We treat him as one more. It is also true that some have more affinity with some partners than others; in his case he gets along very well with the French players."

Didier Deschamps paid tribute to his players after taking charge of France for the 100th time in Sunday's 2-0 win away to Albania.

France – who were already assured of Euro 2020 qualification – eased to victory in Tirana, with Antoine Griezmann setting up Corentin Tolisso for the opener before then scoring himself.

Victory ensured Les Bleus finish top of Group H and allowed coach Deschamps to celebrate his milestone at the helm in fitting fashion.

However, the national team boss shifted focus on to the players when asked about reaching the landmark.

He told TF1: "I've been touched by what people have said about my 100th game.

"I'm dependent on the players and some of them have been with me from the start of the journey, helping France get very good results along the way.

"There's personal pride, but most of all I'm proud of my players and their spirit."

Tolisso's opener was the Bayern Munich midfielder's first international goal and he put it down to a pre-match pep talk with himself.

"I'm very proud to have scored my first international goal and very happy," Tolisso said.

"I said to myself before the game that I needed to make a run from a free-kick and that if the ball was going to come to me then so be it.

"I made the run and the ball came to me and it paid off."

France wrapped up their successful Euro 2020 qualification campaign with a routine 2-0 win away to Albania in Didier Deschamps' 100th game in charge, with Antoine Griezmann playing a vital role as Les Bleus secured top spot in Group H.

With Turkey – who defeated Andorra 2-0 on Sunday – still in the hunt to finish at the summit, France knew a victory would ensure they won the group and there rarely looked to be any danger of the hosts claiming a famous victory.

Griezmann, much-maligned at club level with Barcelona, was central to France's success, setting up Corentin Tolisso's headed opener before coolly slotting home their second.

Olivier Giroud saw a couple of presentable chances go to waste after the break, hitting the post with one of them, but Albania never looked capable of capitalising, allowing France to see out the win.

France were much quicker out of the blocks and went ahead after just eight minutes, as Tolisso met Griezmann's free-kick delivery from the left with a glancing header into the bottom corner.

It was then Griezmann with the decisive touch just past the half-hour mark, calmly guiding the ball into the net following Leo Dubois' low delivery into the danger zone.

Barca star Griezmann should have had a second assist late in the first half, but his unmarked club team-mate Clement Lenglet inexplicably headed over from close range.

Proceedings were rather more laborious at the start of the second half, though a well-worked move did see France go close in the 63rd minute – Wissam Ben Yedder scooping a pass to Giroud, whose volley across goal was parried away by Etrit Berisha.

Giroud went even closer 18 minutes from time when hitting a curling effort against an upright, though it had no impact on the result.

 

What does it mean? Deep France squad makes light work of qualification

Les Bleus were always expected to ease through qualifying and they have done just that. Dropping points in both matches against Turkey was not ideal and proves they can be harmed, but they are blessed with squad depth like few other nations.

Sunday's win demonstrated just that. Even without Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe, they were still able to call upon impressive reserves.

Griezmann proves he has still got it

A difficult start to life at Camp Nou has done little to quell suggestions Griezmann – who was often disappointing at Atletico Madrid last season – has stagnated in recent years. But he was impressive in Tirana, scoring, getting an assist and producing a match-high six key passes.

Ben Yedder underwhelms

Given a rare start in the absence of Mbappe, Ben Yedder's excellent domestic form was rewarded. But the Monaco striker struggled to involve himself aside from one clever pass to Giroud in the second half.

What's next?

France's preparations for next year's tournament will begin in earnest, with the draw for the finals taking place at the end of the month. Albania had already been eliminated, however, meaning they must take stock of their current situation and begin planning for what they will hope is a more successful qualification campaign for the 2022 World Cup.

Antoine Griezmann accepts his integration to life at Barcelona has not been easy but remains convinced he will be successful at Camp Nou.

After over a year of speculation and transfer rumours, Barca finally secured the signing of Griezmann from Atletico Madrid, triggering his €120million release clause.

While his haul of four LaLiga goals and three assists in 11 matches is hardly alarming, Griezmann's performances have generally failed to inspire much excitement from fans, leaving them somewhat underwhelmed.

It was thought the forward's arrival would alleviate some of the pressure on talisman Lionel Messi, but the Argentina superstar continues to shoulder much of the creative burden.

After Barca coach Ernesto Valverde recently suggested the Frenchman still needs to adapt to the team's style of play, Griezmann is confident of improving with time and has no doubts over his decision to join Barca.

"Barcelona is not the easiest place [to play]," he said in an interview with Telefoot. "It's a new team, a different club, new tactics and a new position and role for me. But it is what it is and it's time to work.

"I'm proud of the decision and where I am, and it will be the work that sorts everything. Trust me and everything will good.

"My goal now is to be an important player in the club, have more minutes, score more goals, make decisive passes, qualify in the Champions League and be up there in the league, be ready for the national team [France] in March and also for Euro 2020.

"I'm a player who thinks about the team. I can score many goals, but that is not my main goal. My goal is to help the team in any way I can."

Ernesto Valverde has the backing of Barcelona's backroom staff according to sporting director Eric Abidal, who moved to distance the Blaugrana from "clubs that change coaches after bad results".

Barcelona are top of LaLiga, level on points with second-placed Real Madrid, but a 3-1 defeat at Levante and a goalless draw at home to Slavia Prague brought doubts over Valverde's leadership back to the fore among sections of the club's fanbase.

Ronaldo Koeman has been touted as a potential replacement for Valverde, should he leave the position he took up in May 2017.

Abidal admitted that Valverde's position is never far from the headlines, despite his back-to-back LaLiga triumphs, pointing to Barcelona's Champions League eliminations at the hands of Roma in 2017-18 and Liverpool in 2018-19 as sore points for supporters.

"There's always a debate about Valverde," Abidal told SPORT.

"The same thing that happened in Rome happened in Liverpool. Because of one result you can end up thinking that it's been a bad season. And for the way that it happened. 

"In these situations, you can think that the coach is to blame, but you have to analyse everything. What does the coach bring to the team and vice-versa?

"We support the coach and we give him all the information, although the day-to-day is his. There are clubs that change coaches after bad results, but you always have to look at the wider situation.

"If the coach sees that it can be improved, you have to back him."

Antoine Griezmann's performances have also been heavily scrutinised by the Camp Nou faithful since his €120million transfer from Atletico Madrid, and Abidal conceded the France international has not been at his best.

Griezmann has scored four goals in 11 league appearances and only one in his last six domestic outings, leaving him vulnerable to criticism from an expectant crowd.

Abidal backed the 28-year-old to improve, saying: "He knows it's complicated to adapt. Here the movements are different, but he's a player that can add a lot and the coach knows that. 

"Defensively he brings a lot and he can play in many positions. He came because he wants to win the Champions League.

"He knows he's not at his best and that's only fixed by working hard. Griezmann is an intelligent player and the important thing is to know what you can add to the team in the position you are playing."

Gerard Pique concedes Barcelona can improve but claims the level of criticism they have received this season has been unfair.

Barca lead LaLiga after 12 games despite having suffered three defeats, two more than title rivals Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.

Ernesto Valverde's men returned to form ahead of the international break with a 4-1 win over Celta Vigo, which followed a 3-1 loss at Levante and goalless Champions League draw with Slavia Prague.

While some have taken issue with results and performances alike, centre-back Pique feels the assessments have been unjust.

"We have won the last two league titles, we are the leaders in LaLiga and in the Champions League and the criticisms we are receiving are excessive," Pique told radio programme El Partidazo de COPE.

"Can we play better? Of course, but there is still a lot of the season left.

"Barca is the least result-focused team in the world. It's not enough to win, the fans have made that clear. We have to win playing well and it's true that right now we are not at the level that we should be."

Lionel Messi's hat-trick powered the Spanish champions to last weekend's victory, with Sergio Busquets adding the fourth.

Antoine Griezmann failed to find the net before being replaced and has now gone five club games without a goal.

Before the Celta match, Barca boss Valverde suggested the France international is still adjusting to a new playing style.

Pique expects Griezmann, formerly the star of Diego Simeone's Atletico side, will eventually get to grips with being a supporting cast member.

"He always succeeded with Real Sociedad and Atletico, but it is true that he has come to a team, Barca, which does not play for him," he said.

"In that sense, he has to know how to find his space, but he will find it because he has a lot of talent.

"I particularly value how much he helps us in defensive tasks."

Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann have cited a half-time team talk from Didier Deschamps as the key to France's 2-1 win over Moldova.

Thanks to Turkey's goalless draw with Iceland in Group H's early kick-off, France already had their place at Euro 2020 secured heading into Thursday's encounter at Stade de France.

However, Clement Lenglet's early error gifted Moldova the lead, with Raphael Varane pouncing on a mistake from Alexei Koselev to pull France level.

An improved second-half display followed from Les Bleus, though it was not until Lucas Digne drew a foul from Veaceslav Posmac that the home side got their winner – Giroud slamming in from the spot.

Giroud has now scored in his past three France appearances and acknowledged the 2018 World Cup winners needed some tough love from their coach at the interval.

"I could have, we could have scored well before the penalty," Giroud told French television channel M6.

"We did not start as we should have done. We had a lack of aggression in everything we did, in the duels, in the decision-making and in the desire to do things right.

"In the second half there was much more intensity and accuracy with much better intentions so we created many opportunities.

"You have to know how to have solutions, that's what the coach stressed at half-time and he wanted more movement from our forwards.

"We tried hard to listen to him and offer more solutions in this area of our game and we created many opportunities."

Barcelona forward Griezmann echoed Giroud's comments, while lamenting his side's first-half performance.

"It's true that we did not have a good match, especially in the first half," Griezmann told reporters.

"The coach at half-time boosted us so we reacted a bit. Even if it showed that we were not well, especially in front of goal, we went on to get this victory."

Clement Lenglet says Antoine Griezmann is happy at Barcelona and is confident his team-mate will become a Camp Nou success.

Griezmann has failed to find his best form in Catalonia since joining Barca from Atletico Madrid in a €120million transfer during the close season.

The 28-year-old has been used predominantly in a wide role and has four goals in 15 matches in all competitions, failing to find the net in his past five outings.

However, Lenglet - also a colleague at international level with France - believes Griezmann is still learning to adapt to a new style of play following five seasons under Diego Simeone at Atleti.

"It's not simple to fit in at a club like Barcelona," Lenglet told a news conference on Tuesday. "Some players are already there and have a history together.

"Like in the French national team, there is a very specific way of playing - how we're positioned is different than what Antoine knew at Atletico, where he was starting from far back.

"You need time to adapt to feel better on the pitch and play as well as possible. 

"At Barcelona, we're trying to recover the ball as high as possible on the pitch with a lot of efforts on 20 to 30 metre runs. With Atletico, it was a bit different, they were falling back, and it was 50 to 60 metre runs. So you have to learn that, you need time. 

"Physically it's different, and mentally as well, you need to prepare. Antoine is working on that every day during training, and it's going to be better and better during games, I'm sure of it."

Asked if Griezmann performs differently for his country, speaking ahead of Euro 2020 qualifiers against Moldova and Albania, Lenglet added: "'Different' is a big word, but when he's with the national team, he's having a lot of fun.

"He's been there for a long time, he played a few big tournaments with the team, and he won a really beautiful one. Of course, he knows this place very well, he's very happy to be here, he has a strong history with the team. 

"But he's also very happy to be at Barcelona, even if you're saying otherwise. He's smiling every day and likes to be happy on and off the pitch."

Griezmann admitted last month he had found it "difficult" connecting with Barca superstar Lionel Messi as neither of them are naturally big talkers.

Messi later played down suggestions of any issues, and Lenglet has praised the Argentina superstar for the way he helps new players to adapt at Camp Nou.

"[Messi] is very clam, very relaxed, very normal," he said. "When you arrive at Barcelona, you're careful about what you're doing but it's not Leo who's coming over to tell you off when you make a mistake. 

"He's very simple, he lets you play. This is how it went with Antoine and I. Step by step, you talk to him. 

"He gets along very well with Luis [Suarez] but he's very open with the others, so you can talk about many things, not only football. He's a simple man and he helps us every day."

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