Philippe Coutinho thanks Barcelona for warm debut welcome

January 26, 2018 8:22 am

Philippe Coutinho has thanked his Barcelona team-mates and fans for easing his nerves ahead of his debut for the Spanish club.

The Brazil international came on as a 69th-minute substitute, replacing Andres Iniesta, during Barcelona’s Copa del Rey quarter-final against Espanyol, as they earned a 2-1 win on aggregate.

Barcelona signed Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool earlier this month for a club record fee of £146m, but he was unable to make his debut until Thursday due to a thigh injury.

Coutinho has revealed he was feeling anxious ahead of his debut agaisnt Espanyol – where he spent a season on loan in 2012 – but says the welcome he received from the Camp Nou enabled him to relax.

He said on Barcelona’s official website: “For me it’s a great night, a very special night. They are my first minutes with this club and I’m very happy, thrilled.

“The reception I got from the fans and the players left me happy. I was a little anxious, nervous, but the way they all received me left me very calm.”

Barcelona join Valencia, Sevilla and Leganes in the semi-final of the competition after first-half goals from Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi helped to overturn Epsanyol’s 1-0 lead from the first-leg.

Coutinho added: “It’s a special night and we’ve managed to win the game, which is the most important thing.

“It was a difficult game, as you’d expect, against a team who played well. I think from the first half we controlled the game well and we’ve deserved to win.”

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