Suarez praises Philippe Coutinho performance


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Philippe Coutinho made his first start for Barcelona in the 2-1 victory over Alaves in La Liga on Sunday and Luis Suarez was pleased with the contribution of his team-mate.

Brazil international Coutinho arrived at Camp Nou from Liverpool for a reported €160million earlier this month and he made his first appearance for his new employers when he came on as a substitute during their midweek Copa del Rey success against Espanyol.

Coutinho was subsequently included in the starting line-up for Sunday’s league clash in Catalonia and despite producing a relatively quiet display, the 25-year-old’s performance received the vote of approval from Suarez.

“It’s difficult to debut in the Camp Nou in the league,” Suarez said.

“Philippe was very good. He did very well trying to drive in the game and the team are happy with his contribution.”

Goals from Suarez and Lionel Messi helped Barca secure a victory from the contest and the result has extended their lead at the top of the La Liga standings to 11 points, while they remain unbeaten in the Spanish top-flight this season.

Suarez knows his side had to dig deep during the contest and he was pleased with the character they were able to show against their relegation-threatened opponents.

“If you don’t concentrate you don’t win, sometimes looking at the league positions of rival teams does you no good,” Suarez added.

“In the second half we knew what we were playing for and we got the three points.”

The Blaugrana are next in action when they play host to Valencia in the first-leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final tie on Thursday.

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