Valverde didn't substitute Luis Suarez v Lyon because he didn't want to 'crush his morale'

Barcelona played out a bore 0-0 draw against Lyon in their Champions League last 16 tie on Tuesday.

The Spanish giants will still go into the return leg as heavy favourites, but it can still be considered a disappointing result for Los Blancos.

Ernesto Valverde admitted after the game that his side managed to do ‘very little’ in front of goal.

“We tried in every possible way to score and created a lot of chances, but we managed to do very little,” Valverde said, per Marca. “It is not for lack of trying, though, because we looked for goals, but today it just wasn’t to be.

“The tie is still up in the air and will be decided in front of our own fans at the Camp Nou.

“We aren’t going to deny that we had hoped for a different result from the game to bring back because this is dangerous.

“We know that the away goal has value, but we are a powerful team at home and expect a fantastic atmosphere from our own fans.”

While few of the Barcelona players covered themselves in glory, Luis Suarez’s performance was perhaps the worst of the bunch.

The Uruguayan had one of his worst games in recent memory as he cut a frustrated figure up front.

He has now gone 16 away games in the Champions League without a goal, a run that stretches 16 hours of game-time.

However, despite having a poor night, Suarez played the full 90 minutes.

Instead, it was Ousmane Dembele that was taken off, making way for Philippe Coutinho in the 67th minute.

That proved to be a decision that angered Barcelona supporters.

But why did Valverde make that decision? Sport have explained the substitution, and it’s likely that it won’t go down too well with Barcelona fans.

Due to Dembele’s injury concerns, he rarely plays the full 90 minutes and Valverde had that in mind.

Fair enough, but he also has another motive, and it revolves around status at the club.

Sport write: “His substitution is also explained by status. Messi cannot be taken off, while Luis Suarez occasionally is but because of hierarchy usually isn’t.

“And with the Uruguayan in bad form, Valverde thought the change could crush his morale.”

So, despite the 32-year-old having a bad game, Valverde decided to take off Dembele instead as he was concerned it would demoralise Suarez.

Make of that what you will.

Was Valverde write to take off Dembele instead of Suarez? Have your say by leaving a comment below.

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