Luis Suarez praised Philippe Coutinho’s contribution in the 2-1 win over Alaves despite the midfielder’s quiet full debut for Barcelona.
Coutinho made little impression on the match in his first start for Barcelona since joining from Liverpool for £145million earlier this month.
The Brazilian was neat and tidy but failed to make a telling impact and was substituted off with 24 minutes remaining for Paco Alcacer.
Philippe Coutinho made his full debut for Barcelona in Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Alaves
But Suarez, who also made the move from Merseyside to Catalonia, defended his new team-mate’s performance in the victory.
‘It’s difficult to debut in the Camp Nou in the league,’ Suarez said after the match. ‘Philippe was very good.
‘He did very well trying to drive in the game and the team are happy with his contribution.’
Luis Suarez (right) praised Coutinho’s contribution despite the midfielder’s quiet league debut
Coutinho had made his first appearance for the club in the Copa del Rey clash with Espanyol on Thursday when his second-half cameo helped Barcelona come from behind and secure a 2-1 aggregate win.
Ernesto Valverde’s men were made to come from from behind again on Sunday after John Guidetti fired Alaves in to a shock 23rd-minute lead.
Suarez scored for the eighth successive La Liga match to level before Messi struck a brilliant free-kick with six minutes remaining to give Barcelona all three points.