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The Blaugrana boss was pleased with the Dutchman's performance on Saturday, while also praising Mali international Seydou Keita

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has heaped praise on Ibrahim Afellay following his return to the starting XI in Saturday's 2-2 draw against Betis.

The Dutchman featured for the first time since sustaining a knee injury in September and lasted 58 minutes before Guardiola opted to replace him for tactical reasons.

And the Blaugrana coach believes that Afellay's return is good news for Netherlands ahead of Euro 2012.

"He played very well. He participated, he had a chance to score and he didn’t lose any balls. With [Dani] Alves’ red card, I preferred to sub him out to avoid fatigue," Guardiola stated at a press conference.

"Anyway, it’s good news for the Dutch national team and for the future."

The 41-year-old then went on to praise Seydou Keita, who netted the equaliser in the closing minutes of the game.

"He probably deserves more. He’s a very important player. He gives us things that other midfielders don’t have. I’m pleased with his game."

Barcelona will now turn their attention to the upcoming Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao on May 25.

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