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Setien: I have tears when I see the intensity of Dembele's training

3:16 AM EST 2/1/20
Ousmane Dembele, Lionel Messi training
The 22-year-old winger is expected back from injury in a few weeks and his coach is eager to see him on the field again

Barcelona coach Quique Setien says Ousmane Dembele's intensity in training brings a tear to his eye and believes the winger will be like a new signing when he returns from injury.

The 22-year-old has not had it easy since he joined Barca from Borussia Dortmund in 2017 as injuries and inconsistent performances have hindered his progress at Camp Nou.

The France international has been limited to just nine appearances in all competitions this season and has been out of action since the end of November with a hamstring problem, an injury which has flared up several times since he made the move from Germany.

Dembele, who has been linked with a move away from Barca several times since he joined, is expected to return to training with the Catalan side in a few weeks.

And new coach Setien has been impressed by what he has seen of his work rate and determination, stating that it brings him to tears.

"With Dembele, we have not yet spoken. Like most, he has things he can improve on," Setien told Sport.

"You have to keep in mind that they are still young kids. Their dedication, from what I have seen, is total and absolute. I have tears when I see the capacity and intensity in which he works."

The former Real Betis boss expects the winger to make a big impact when he returns to the field alongside Lionel Messi and Co. this month as they try to make do without star forward Luis Suarez, who could be out for the remainder of the season.

Barca had tried to bring in Valencia's Rodrigo Moreno on a short-term deal but several approaches were ultimately denied by the fellow Liga side, while subsequent interest in Betis' Loren Moron also to came to nothing. Setien, however, remains positive.

"We are delighted with Dembele. He can be the winter signing," he added. "You never know how things happen and we always think positively. It's clear that his recovery will come in handy."

Barcelona are three points behind leaders Real Madrid after 21 La Liga matches. Setien's team are in action on Sunday when they face Levante at Camp Nou, a day after their nearest rivals face Atletico Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.