Ansu Fati won’t be rushed back into Barcelona starting XI despite scoring return against Levante, insists Koeman



The Dutchman has revealed that the teenage forward was “very tired” after his substitute appearance in La Liga at the weekend

Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has insisted that Ansu Fati won’t be rushed back into his starting XI, despite scoring on his return to action against Levante.

Ansu suffered a serious knee injury in November 2020 which kept him out of action for 10 months, but he was finally able to make his long-awaited return to the pitch during Barca’s latest La Liga outing on Sunday.

The 18-year-old scored after coming off the bench for the final 10 minutes against Levante to wrap up a 3-0 victory for the Blaugrana, marking his first appearance since inheriting Lionel Messi’s No.10 jersey in style.

What’s been said?

Koeman was pleased with Ansu’s impact on proceedings at Camp Nou, but has also revealed that the forward suffered from fatigue after the game.

The Barca manager won’t be taking any risks when it comes to the Spaniard’s physical wellbeing, as he told a press conference when asked if he will feature against Benfica in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

“He was very tired on Monday,” said Koeman. “What happened also had a huge emotional impact on him after so long out, coming on, scoring, being with his family. We have to keep the mental aspect in mind.

“He trained today without problems. We will keep trying to give him more time in games. It depends on how Ansu is. We have to increase (his minutes) but I can’t say before every game how many minutes he can play, it depends on the player.”

The Dutchman was also pressed on whether Ansu could be called up to the Spain squad for the UEFA Nations League finals at the start of October, to which he replied: “I don’t know because I am not the national team coach.

“He still lacks a lot [to be 100 per cent], as we spoke about the other day. Things went well on Sunday, he got the 15 minutes we said and to score as well was perfect for us.

“But I can’t give my opinion on Spain. What I can say is he’s just been out for 10 months. He’s trained with the team for a couple of weeks and has only played 15 minutes of football.” 

Araujo’s relief for Ansu

Fati’s team-mate Ronald Araujo has also expressed his relief over the teenager’s successful recovery, while urging supporters to be patient as he builds up his match fitness.

“I am very happy about his return, because we know what happened. It is not easy to be out for a year,” said the Uruguayan defender.

“He is happy, thank God he was able to return well, he got an important and beautiful goal. But this is just the beginning and you have to be patient.”

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