The Brazilian attacker is looking sharp ahead of the new season and is determined to have a big impact
Philippe Coutinho admitted he missed playing at Camp Nou after returning to the stadium in Barcelona‘s 1-0 win over Elche on Saturday.
A second-minute goal from Antoine Griezmann secured Ronald Koeman’s side the Joan Gamper Trophy with Coutinho voted the game’s most valuable player.
After spending last season on loan with Bayern Munich, the attacker has returned to Barcelona and is looking sharp having already scored twice in pre-season.
Against Elche, Coutinho created a game-high five chances in his 79 minutes on the pitch and clearly relished the chance to play at Camp Nou again.
“Well, I am very happy. I missed playing in this stadium,” Coutinho told Barca TV post-match.
“First game back in the Camp Nou and the official competition will start in one week, we are working really hard and we are focused on the new season.
“I was really looking forward to playing at the Camp Nou again. I am very happy and working hard to start the season well. I have been feeling great and just hoping that my return to Barcelona goes well. I’m highly motivated.”
Speaking about Coutinho after the game, Koeman added: “We hope to see the best version of him. He has been working very hard and is a player who can do big things for this team.”
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) September 19, 2020
Like Coutinho, Koeman enjoyed being back in Camp Nou but conceded matches will be better once fans are allowed to attend again.
“It’s special. Even more special with crowd and public in the stadium but it was nice, the first match in Camp Nou,” Koeman told Barca TV.
“It’s always special being here, now as a coach, but hopefully we can do it again in the stadium with the public – it will be even nicer.”
The match against Elche saw Miralem Pjanic make his first appearance for Barcelona since joining the club from Juventus. The midfielder replaced Sergio Busquets in the 63rd minute and he feels he’s making progress as he adapts to life with his new side.
“It was a nice feeling. I was very happy to start training with the team,” he said.
“I’m happy to play my first game, it was 30 minutes, I need more training for sure, but I was really happy and can’t wait for the season to start.”