Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said Antoine Griezmann “reacted perfectly” to the call of duty, scoring twice as the side beat Real Betis 5-2.
The Frenchman was unable to find the net in his Barca debut as the side went down 1-0 to Athletic Bilbao – and Valverde called for Griezmann to be more involved in the game at the Nou Camp.
The World Cup winner duly responded with a brace and an assist as Barcelona – without injured Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele – came from behind to secure all three points.
Valverde, quoted in Marca, said: “I have to recognise that it was an important day for him due to the injuries we had. He reacted perfectly,
“He dropped into the midfield to help and he made an impact. We know that if attacking players track back, we have a better chance of winning.”
The home side found themselves a goal down early on when Nabil Fekir opened his account for Betis on 15 minutes but Griezmann equalised shortly before half-time and curled in a superb second early in the second half which had Suarez and Messi beaming their approval.
Goals from Carles Perez and Jordi Alba made sure of the points before Griezmann – signed for more than £100m – set up substitute Arturo Vidal for the fifth, although the best, and last, goal of the night was a 25-yard screamer from Betis’ Loren Moron.
Speaking after the game to the club’s website, Griezmann said: “Well, this is a tricky stadium for me. There’s not many in Spain where I haven’t scored and this was one of them.
“So I’m really happy for the goals, the way the team played and for the atmosphere.
“I know that people are expecting a lot of me, my first game wasn’t great so I just wanted another game to come along.”
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.