BARCELONA

Dembélé: Koeman sparks doubts over Barcelona winger's future

Barelona head coach Ronald Koeman explained his decision to leave Ousmane Dembélé on the bench in Thursday's LaLiga victory over Celta Vigo.

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Barca boss Koeman sparks doubts over Dembele amid Man Utd links

Ronald Koeman described Pedri and Francisco Trincão as more "decisive" than Ousmane Dembélé as the Barcelona boss explained the Frenchman's place on the bench against Celta Vigo.

Dembélé tipped for Manchester United switch

Dembélé, who has been linked with a move to Premier League giants Manchester United, was an unused substitute in 10-man Barça's 3-0 LaLiga victory at Celta on Thursday.

The 23-year-old has emerged as an alternative to Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, with United reportedly eyeing a deal before the transfer window closes.

Asked about Dembélé's absence, Dutchman Koeman cited tactical reasons post-match. "If I think about not choosing a player, you have to think about the game," he told reporters.

"We went ahead with the opening goal and we had players on the bench in Pedri and Trincão who can bring more than Dembélé can, to be decisive, to make changes in that sense."

Ansu Fati made it three goals in two games, while a Lucas Olaza own goal and Sergi Roberto's stoppage-time strike ensured Barça defeated Celta.

Barça were already one goal ahead via Fati's 11th-minute opener when defender Clément Lenglet was sent off for a second bookable offence three minutes before half-time.

The LaLiga powerhouse secured back-to-back wins to start the season after Celta defender Olaza turned the ball into his own net and Roberto added a third goal at the death.

Barcelona players "hungry" to make up for last season, says Koeman

Koeman, who replaced Quique Setién following a tumultuous season which saw Barça dethroned by Real Madrid in LaLiga and humiliated 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League, added: "I can only speak about this season, I can't say about what happened last season. What I've seen since my first day is that these players are hungry.

"They're not willing to give in after a season like that. They're working a lot, these players are training hard with more intensity. I think it's important, the way that we're training and that's been shown today until the last second with one player down away from home. I think you can notice it in all the details across the pitch.

"I think like any coach you need time, but I think the team are much better than everyone would have thought before. There have been some difficult games and we have six points.

"We've scored seven goals and haven't conceded one. I think those statistics show we're growing and of course there are always things to improve on. But we've worked really hard for these matches and I'm really happy."