Barcelona manager publicly defends Clement Lenglet

The Barcelona center-back was responsible for the Cadiz penalty in the last match.

Clement Lenglet gave up the penalty in the final minutes of the match in Barcelona’s 1-1 draw against Cadiz at the Camp Nou.

The penalty was the latest in a line of blunders for the French center-back this season. Unsurprisingly, his error led to much criticism from supporters and pundits alike.

However, in his press conference ahead of their midweek match against, Elche, manager Ronald Koeman has come to the defense of his player.

“I’ve spoken with Clement today this morning,” said Koeman. “He is very professional and a serious player that takes these things personally. Like I’ve said before, one player is not to blame when we drop points.

“Obviously he could have done better in that play and has been involved in some of the defensive errors but so have other players.”

Source: Sport

Koeman is not the only one to come to Lenglet’s defense.

Former Barcelona player Jeremy Mathieu has also come out and said he knows how Lenglet is feeling. He offered some advice and said that he has to stay positive. That he went through a similar situation in his final year at the club.

Being a defender at Barcelona is a difficult task considering the Catalans have to play a high line. It’s not made any easier when the attack is not able to convert their chances. It adds that much more pressure.

But Lenglet simply has not been as good this season as he was last. He was never the quickest, to begin with but now seems to be more than one step off the pace. Any attacker with any sort of speed seems to be able to get by him much more easily this season.

What makes matters worse is the errors come at the worst times and against opponents Barcelona should be beating. But it’s not just him. As a collective, the team struggles to defend.

For Lenglet, however, since he, and whoever is partnered alongside him, are the last line of defense before it gets to the goalkeeper, he is the one in the replays and photos making it easier to single him out.

Given the injuries to Ronald Araujo and Gerard Pique, as well as the poor play of Samuel Umtiti, Koeman has been forced to play Lenglet since, for the most part, he’s been able to stay healthy. He tried giving him a couple of games off to shake off some of the pressure but that doesn’t appear to have worked either.

His future at the club is in doubt. The final decision is going to lie with the president and the new board but it is not out of the realm of possibility that Lenglet could be sold in the summer. Finding a suitor would be an easier task with him than with Umtiti, who they’re also going to want to move on from at the end of the season.