Celtic team huddle before facing Barcelona
Pundit Andy Walker has told Sky Sports' Soccer Special (23/11/2016) that he thinks Moussa Dembele has to be stronger and show better control in Champions League games.
Celtic took on Barcelona on Wednesday evening in their penultimate game of the Champions League group stage, and were looking to exert some revenge on the Catalan giants having been thrashed 7-0 at the Camp Nou in September.
However, Celtic again lost to Luis Enrique's side, and whilst they kept the score down this time, they were still beaten 2-0 as Lionel Messi scored a goal in each half to knock Celtic out of the competition.
Barcelona were deserved winners, but Celtic did have a chance to get back into the game at 1-0 down. James Forrest's cross from the left hand side found star striker Moussa Dembele, but the Bhoys hero could only send a tame header straight at Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.
Dembele was left to rue that miss as Barcelona quickly established a two-goal lead after that chance, and he will have expected to score having enjoyed such a stunning start to life with the Bhoys.
The Frenchman, 20, has smashed 16 goals in 26 games for Celtic since signing from Fulham over the summer, and his exploits have led to speculation that he could leave the club in the near future.
Celtic's Moussa Dembele
On Wednesday though, Dembele couldn't find the net, and pundit Andy Walker – formerly of Celtic – spoke to Sky Sports Soccer Special about Dembele's performance.
Walker thinks Dembele must be stronger and improve his control in the Champions League, as he has to hold the ball up better given that Celtic won't have as much of the ball in Europe as they do in domestic games.
Walker suggested that it will have been a great learning experience for manager Rodgers, and thinks Dembele will have benefited from playing against such quality players.
Celtic's Moussa Dembele
“I don't think it's any disgrace for Celtic, I think it's absolutely a learning curve,” said Walker. “Not just for the players, but for Brendan Rodgers as well. If he wants to come back to the Premier League in two or three years, I think he has to find some sort of notable victory on the Champions League stage.”
“Dembele is only 20, and it's great for him to be playing in the Champions League. I think he's learning just from taking part and knowing what it's all about up against these quality players. He's not in a team that is dominating from start to finish, the way that Celtic do domestically, so when it does come to him, he just has to learn to be stronger and for his control to be tighter. These are all things which I think will come to him,” he added.
What did you think of Dembele's display against Barcelona?