Pique issues Coutinho backing

10 March 2019 06:30:24 EST

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has offered his backing to team-mate Philippe Coutinho after he was jeered by home supporters on Saturday.

The Brazil international, who joined the Blaugrana for £142m from Liverpool, has been linked with a return to the Premier League after struggling for form at Barca.

Jeers were heard as Coutinho was subbed with 10 minutes remaining of Barca's 3-1 win over Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.

Team-mate Pique says the supporters are entitled to show their emotions but the defender is adamant Coutinho has the full support of the players in the dressing room.

"Philippe is having a good season," Pique told Marca. "Obviously his cost was very high so that means there are more expectations of his performance level. It is what it is.

"We need him at his best for the end of the season and I'm sure he will be."

The three points on Saturday means Barca are seven points clear at the top of the La Liga table, with Atletico Madrid currently second ahead of city rivals Real Madrid.

Barca are 6/4 to win the Champions League this season, while Atletico are 12121/1 to claim the European title this term.

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