Dest switched off against Mbappe; needs more focus

8:18 AM ET.

  • Sam Marsden.
  • Moyce Lawrence.

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman said Sergino Dest was sent off the field too often in the 4-1 defeat of Paris Saint-Germain midweek and urged the USMNT international to be more aggressive.

Dest has been shuffled back and forth in the Barca squad since the beginning of the year with thigh problems, but was selected ahead of Oscar Mingusa to deal with the threat of PSG striker Kylian Mbappe on the left.

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However, Dest struggled to get rid of Mbappe, who scored a hat-trick before the former Ajax right-back was replaced by Mingusa in the second half.

“Maybe because he didn’t play regularly and was injured, that affected his participation in the team,” Koeman said at a press conference on Saturday.

“But he’s fine now, he’s fine physically. He’s [20] years old, but he needs to learn, he needs to be more aggressive, he needs to be more focused. He’s had periods too often where he wasn’t 100% focused. We talked to him about that.

Deste came over from Ajax to Barca in October for 20 million euros and has already made 24 appearances in all competitions this season.

The USMNT right-back got off to a good start and impressed in defeat in the Clasico against Real Madrid late last year, but a hip injury has disrupted his form in recent months.

Koeman, who lobbied to sign Dest last summer, believes he can still be an important player for the Catalan team, but warns that playing for Barca is completely different from playing for Ajax.

“He’s a young player, that’s good, he can learn but he has to learn,” added the Dutch coach, who has also played for Ajax and Barca.

With all the positive things he can bring to the team, he must [also] understand that playing for Barcelona is a more important step than playing in the Netherlands. He needs time, he needs advice, but it starts with the player himself.

Fout. Film niet specified.Sergino Dest tegenover Kylian Mbappe in hun Champions League clash. Alex Caparros – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images.

Dest is included in Barca’s squad for Sunday’s match against Cadiz at Camp Nou in La Liga, where he will try to recover from his defeat in the first round of 16 of the Champions League against PSG on Tuesday.

Barca have since been bowled out of the season and need a comeback to stay in Europe and the Copa del Rey, despite a nine-point deficit to leaders Atletico Madrid.

“The Champions League is very difficult from now on, but for the Copa we can turn the tide [the 2-0 semifinal deficit against Sevilla] with a better performance and a bit of luck,” Koeman said.

“Until the draw is made, it’s not over. I think we will get through this. And we are in good shape in the league, even if we depend on the teams in front of us losing points. I’m not as negative as you suggest”.

Barca must still do without Sergi Roberto, Ronald Araujo, Philippe Coutinho and Ansou Fati due to injuries against Cadiz, but Gerard Pique could play again after an impressive recovery from a knee ligament injury against PSG to make the starting eleven.

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