Koeman Clarifies Benching Messi During First Half Of Real Betis Win

Barcelona won 5-2 against Real Betis on Saturday.

Although Barca boss   was happy with the win, he said that the team missed several more chances to score – which included Messi being on the bench and Antoine Griezmann missing a penalty.

“We deserved the win and also to have led by more goals at half time,” Koeman said afterwards. “We had lots of chances and we missed a penalty. We went in [at half time] at just 1-1 but, in the second half, we kept our team spirit and scored five, which could’ve been more.

“I’m happy with [Griezmann]’s work. He missed a penalty and he didn’t score his chances. He was unlucky, but he’s always there to score. Mentally, that affects you. But he has confidence in himself and he scored. Leo gave him a great assist without touching the ball.”

Messi came on the field in the second half and was not in the starting eleven. Koeman explains why.

“We’ve been saying since [Friday] that he’d had some niggles since the game against Dynamo Kiev,” Koeman said on his captain. “We spoke and we decided to leave him on the bench in case we needed him.

“If he didn’t have any niggles, he would’ve played. We know who he is and I have no doubts over him. I see him work every day. He didn’t start, but he was very important in the second half.”

See More: Barcelona Most Goals Scored: All-Time Highest Scorers


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