Sunday 20 October, 2019

Griezmann: I need time to gel with Messi and Suarez

Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann.

Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann.

Antoine Griezmann insisted it will take time for him to gel with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez after Barcelona escaped with a point against Borussia Dortmund in their Champions League opener.

Barcelona held on for a 0-0 draw away to Bundesliga side Dortmund in Tuesday's Group F clash after goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen saved a second-half penalty from Marco Reus.

Messi made his first appearance of the season after recovering from a calf injury – coming on as a second-half substitute – but it was a frustrating night for the LaLiga champions, whose side included Suarez and close-season arrival Griezmann.

"It's my second month since I arrived, I have to get used to it and play more with them to understand the movements of Suarez and Leo," Griezmann – a €120million signing from Atletico Madrid – acknowledged in Movistar +.

"We have not knocked on the door enough and we must improve and work at it. It is a point but Marc stopped a penalty and made other saves."

Barca head coach Ernesto Valverde admitted they had Ter Stegen to thank after he made a string of fine saves - including one to deny Germany colleague Reus in the 57th minute.

"It was a difficult game in a great atmosphere," Valverde said. "We had to suffer a lot, especially after the break when we lost control and they were very dangerous.

"In the first half we dominated a bit more. We were lacking in the final third. We have to thank Marc-Andre ter Stegen for his outstanding saves.

"We know we have to improve away from home. We tried giving Messi a few minutes and Luis Suarez played from the start."

Ter Stegen added: "People know what I'm capable of. I just want to concentrate wholly on my work and perform at 100 per cent of my capabilities. Today I think I demonstrated that."

Dortmund captain Reus acknowledged his frustration at missing such a golden opportunity to defeat the Spanish giants.

He said: "Marc is a world-class keeper. My penalty was not really well-taken. Back to the training ground for that.

"Of course it does not feel good. I failed to convert a penalty and we had several other chances. One goal probably would have been enough for a win. We hardly allowed Barcelona space and showed a strong performance."

Dortmund defender Mats Hummels said the result felt like a missed opportunity, however, the German insisted there were plenty of positives to take from the performance.

"In the end we lost two points and failed to be in a better position. Nevertheless, we can be especially proud of the second half," the 30-year-old said.

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