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'We expect a lot from him' - Valverde praises after 'decisive' Dembele sparks Barcelona comeback

1:15 AM WAT 04/11/2018
Ousmane Dembele Barcelona 2018-19
The Barca boss admitted expectations are high with the France international but praised his impact in the comeback victory

Ernesto Valverde expects "a lot from" Ousmane Dembele but believes he can be "decisive" after the attacker helped Barcelona secure a comeback win over Rayo Vallecano.

The Catalan giants looked set for their second loss of the season after Jose Pozo and Alvaro Garcia cancelled out Luis Suarez's early opener.

They produced a stirring comeback, though, with Dembele drawing them level in the 87th minute before Suarez delivered the decisive blow three minutes later.

Dembele was introduced for the ineffective Rafinha early in the second period and, despite struggling to get into the game, made a telling impact with his late leveller.

Reports have suggested Dembele's place at the club may not be secure, but Valverde praised his potential after the win while admitting expectations for the attacker are high. 

"We expect a lot from him," Valverde said in his post-match media conference. "Dembele can be decisive and today he helped us with a great goal that allowed us to get the next."

Barcelona were off the pace for long periods of the game and Valverde admits there were similarities to the surrender at Leganes in late September – the champions' only defeat this season.

"The ghost of Butarque appeared everywhere in moments in that second half," Valverde told reporters.

"But, in the end, we won by playing doing something different.

"When you play against a team who have turned the score around, a precedent always comes to mind and Rayo played and fought and did a lot of things well."

Suarez scored a hat-trick in last weekend's 5-1 thumping of bitter rivals Real Madrid and the Uruguayan concedes that Barca may have have underestimated their struggling opponents, who remain 19th.

"It may be that there was an excess of confidence," he said. "We also have to give credit to the opponent, who are in need of points. The important thing was that we turned it around and got the three points. Now we have to evaluate."