UCL PREVIEW: PSV Eindhoven vs Barcelona

Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2018 by PA

UCL PREVIEW: PSV Eindhoven vs Barcelona

Arturo Vidal believes his Barcelona team-mate Ousmane Dembele “needs love”.

The 21-year-old France forward is reportedly unhappy at the Nou Camp, but scored a late equaliser to earn Barca a 1-1 draw at Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

“Ousmane needs love,” said Vidal, speaking ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League clash at PSV Eindhoven.

“He’s a very important player for us, he’s scored some big goals and he’s going to be important for some time to come.”

Barca boss Ernesto Valverde could turn to Dembele, who joined from Borussia Dortmund in August 2017 for a fee which could reach a potential £135million, as his side seek to confirm their place as Group B winners in Holland.

Valverde has Philippe Coutinho available and Ivan Rakitic has travelled to Eindhoven following a hamstring injury. Both could feature for a Barca side depleted by injuries.

“It was very important. It was a goal that kept us from possibly losing the match,” Valverde said of Dembele’s Atletico strike.

“I have confidence that Ousmane Dembele will continue to give his best when he’s out there on the field.”

Barca have failed to win any of their last three matches, with the Atletico draw the sixth LaLiga clash in which they have dropped points out of 13 games.

Although their league form has been indifferent by their standards, in the Champions League they have been as dominant as ever, becoming the first side to qualify for the knockout stages from a tough group after taking 10 points from four games.

Their previous results included a 4-0 win over PSV at the Nou Camp, with a hat-trick from Lionel Messi, and victory on Wednesday would see them clinch top spot.

“Our objective is to finish first, go out and win the game and win the group,” Valverde added.

Argentinian Messi is set to play at the Philips Stadion but Valverde has a number of injury problems to contend with.

Sergi Roberto, Rafinha, Arthur, Luis Suarez, Jasper Cillessen, Thomas Vermaelen and Sergi Samper have all stayed at home.

“Injuries occur all season long. We had to play the last two Champions League matches without Leo Messi,” Valverde added.

“We have Messi back, but we have other injuries. We have to play with who we have.

“There’s an explanation for everything. A lot of these players have come back injured from their national teams. Rafinha was an accident.

“We pay a heavy price for the players playing with the national teams. It’s not that we don’t want them to go, it’s just a fact of life.”

PSV coach Mark Van Bommel, a former Barca midfielder, knows his side very much still have their work cut out, despite Barca’s problems.

He told a press conference: “Barcelona’s results have not been what you might normally expect this season, but it’s not like they are in crisis.

“They have a big squad with a great deal of quality players. They will undoubtedly field a very good team and want to win this game as well.”

PSV, who have not won in 12 Champions League games, cannot qualify for the knockout stages after taking only one point from four matches so far but are still in the hunt for a Europa League spot, with Tottenham three points ahead of them in third.

Van Bommel added: “We always play for a win.”

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