Ernesto Valverde provides his backing for Philippe Coutinho

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has given his backing to midfielder Philippe Coutinho, who endured a difficult game against Girona in the Spanish La Liga. The Brazil international has struggled to secure a regular starting role under Valverde this term and he has done himself no favours after squandering a couple of golden chances to find the scoresheet.

The Blaugrana returned to winning ways with Nelson Semedo and Lionel Messi finding the net but the match could have been much more comfortable, had Coutinho converted his chances which included a one-on-one with the opposition keeper. Speaking after the game, Valverde was supportive of the former Liverpool man despite the average performance and suggested that he has been pleased by the Brazilian’s workrate throughout the game, he said: “What I like about him is that he always tries things and takes on his man. It might work or it might not. He had chances but didn’t score because their goalkeeper is excellent. He’ll convert other chances soon.”