Valverde 'not worried' by struggling Deulofeu

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The attacker produced another underwhelming display in Barcelona's win over Real Murcia, but is manager is not worried about him

Ernesto Valverde insists he is "not worried" about Gerard Deulofeu despite another disappointing performance in Barcelona's 5-0 Copa del Rey defeat of Real Murcia.

The Barca coach named an unfamiliar XI on Wednesday which was mostly made up of fringe players and youngsters, with Deulofeu starting on the left flank.

Deulofeu looked a threat early with his direct wing play, but he was poor in front of goal and his decision-making drew groans of frustration from sections of the Camp Nou crowd.

The 23-year-old has failed to impress in general since returning to the club in pre-season from his loan spell at Everton, despite the sale of Neymar and the injury to Ousmane Dembele giving him a better opportunity of staking a first-team claim.

Valverde has no concerns about him, however, and was happy with his effort.

"He has tried from the first moment," he said. "It's true that in the end he was anxious because he wanted to score, or put a move together, and sometimes when you try too hard at something it is more complicated.

"But, aside from that, his effort has its positive side. I'm not worried, he's okay. He doesn't have any physical problems, he's not sick. He's okay."

Deulefeu 17/10 to score v Celta

Valverde handed a first start to 18-year-old midfielder Oriol Busquets and introduced David Costas for Gerard Pique early in the second half, and the former Athletic Bilbao tactician was pleased with their performances.

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"They did very well," added Valverde. "In the case of David, I planned to play him, especially because Pique wanted me to play him for 50 minutes.

"In the case of Oriol; he's a player that I think can help us. He's still very young, but I think he did very well.

"I took him off because I didn't want to have four B team players on the pitch, just in case. [Carles] Alena also did very well and [Jose] Arnaiz scored again, so I'm very happy."

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