Ronald Koeman explained Antoine Griezmann’s absence in the win over Sevilla.
Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele combined in attack to push Barcelona through a 2-0 win on Saturday.
“It’s not a message,” Koeman said. “We decided to change the system and, to be able to get in behind, we put Dembele up top.
“With the first goal, we said that we needed someone quicker than Griezmann on Messi’s side. It’s not a punishment.”
Youngster Ilaix Moriba came off the bench to assist Messi to the goal.
“He was very good,” Koeman said on the midfielder. “He was strong and very calm on the ball after coming on. He contributed in the little time he had. He helped us to win.”
Griezmann’s exclusion has been brought on by his form this season. His output in front of goal has not been ideal for a player who cost £120m. He has still been allowed to lead the line for majority of the 2020/21 campaign.
The Frenchman is only 3 goals away from reaching his tally from last season of 15 goals. He also has 10 assists to his name. Perhaps he would slowly come back to his best but he was not the right tactical fit for the game against Sevilla.