Coutinho eager to make up for lost time in Barca bid for Champions League glory

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Philippe Coutinho is desperate to make up for lost time as Barcelona prepare to launch their latest bid for Champions League glory.

The 26-year-old Brazil international made his £142million move from Liverpool to the Nou Camp in January having already played for the Premier League club in the competition and was a frustrated by-stander as they went out to Roma in the quarter-finals.

He could finally get his chance when Barca entertain Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven as Group B gets under way on Tuesday evening, and he admits he cannot wait.

Coutinho told a press conference: “It will be a special, important night for me. I’m looking forward to this because I couldn’t play in this competition for Barca last season.

“We are Barca and we want to win every competition we play in. The Champions League is a huge competition and we want to do big things.

“It’s a very demanding competition because of the quality of the teams involved, but both us players and the fans are really hungry to win it.”

Coutinho has been compared favourably to now-departed Barcelona great Andres Iniesta, and while the Brazilian is flattered to be mentioned in the same breath as a man he regards as a “genius”, he insists he has to play his own game.

Posted by Andrés Iniesta on Friday, April 27, 2018

If Iniesta has gone, Lionel Messi is very much still at the forefront of Barca’s quest for a sixth Champions League success, but Coutinho knows he and his team-mates cannot afford to get ahead of themselves.

He said: “He (Messi) is the best player in the world and surely of all time. Like the rest of us, he wants to achieve great things this season and the Champions League is one of those.

“We are in a very difficult group. We need to be 100 per cent in every game and not think that we are favourites.”

The men from Catalonia will head into the game on the back of a perfect five-game start to the season, although PSV have won seven on the trot since their penalty shoot-out defeat by Feyenoord in the Dutch Super Cup on August 4.

The visitors are managed by former midfielder Mark van Bommel, who won the competition with Barcelona in 2005-06, and he will return refusing to be bowed by the task ahead of his team.

He told a press conference: “There are people who say that if you go to Barcelona and you only lose 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1, you did a good job.

“But that’s not our goal and if you’re going to think like that you’d be better off staying home. Once or twice a season, there’s a surprise.”

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