Didier Deschamps: Antoine Griezmann's Barcelona Situation Hardly 'Catastrophic'

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 14, 2019

BARCELONA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 09: Antoine Griezmann of FC Barcelona looks on during the Liga match between FC Barcelona  and RC Celta de Vigo at Camp Nou on November 09, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

France manager Didier Deschamps has played down Antoine Griezmann's mixed start to life at Barcelona. 

Griezmann joined Barcelona in a €120 million move from Atletico Madrid in the summer, but he has struggled to settle somewhat at the Camp Nou.

Per ESPN FC's Jonathan Johnson, Deschamps said:

"Things could be better, but I watch each match, and things are far from catastrophic. It is also a question of how he is used. He was in his best role with Atletico Madrid.

"Perhaps he is less decisive [with Barcelona] than he is with us. However, he knows his importance to us and my confidence in him."

Griezmann has contributed four goals and three assists in 15 appearances for his new side, who will be hoping for more from him given the investment required to prise him away from the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.

What has not helped is that—perhaps as a result of the Argentinian missing the start of the season through injury—he's yet to develop much chemistry with Lionel Messi.

In Barca's 0-0 UEFA Champions League draw with Sparta Prague earlier in the month, there was a moment when Messi—surrounded by three defenders—opted to shoot from the edge of the area rather than pass to Griezmann in space. 

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Barcelona blogger Kevin Williams questioned his decision not to pass to the Frenchman after his shot came back off the woodwork:

There wasn't much understanding on show in Barcelona's 4-1 win over Celta Vigo last Saturday, either:

Such statistics have sparked talk of the pair not getting on with one another, but ESPN's Samuel Marsden dismissed such speculation:

AS' Robbie Dunne suggested a different reason why Griezmann may have struggled to settle:

If he has not been given clear instructions as to his role in the team, then perhaps manager Ernesto Valverde bears responsibility for not integrating him well enough.

The 28-year-old contributed 133 goals and 50 assists in 257 appearances for Atleti, and he's got 29 and 22, respectively, in 76 matches with France.

There's plenty he can offer Barcelona in an attacking sense, and he's also a forward who will put in the hard yards defensively.

With more time to settle—and perhaps some better coaching from Valverde—he can be an enormous asset to Barca.

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