With no goals or assists in four games, ESPN FC’s Sid Lowe explains why Barcelona shouldn’t worry about Philippe Coutinho.
With no goals or assists in four games, ESPN FC’s Sid Lowe explains why Barcelona shouldn’t worry about Philippe Coutinho.

Luis Suarez is revelling in his “spectacular” form after admitting that he struggled psychologically earlier in the season due to a niggling knee injury.

The Barcelona striker injured a knee in the Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid in August and was initially ruled out for a month, but he came back more than two weeks earlier than planned in an attempt to aid Uruguay’s World Cup qualification bid.

However, that early comeback had repercussions as he struggled to find the net for Barca before finally agreeing to take a rest and focus on recovering during the November international break.

Until that point, Suarez had scored just three goals in 14 appearances for Barca. Since then, though, he has re-established his goal-scoring touch, finding the net 16 times in his last 17 outings in all competitions, with 13 of those goals in 11 league games.

“It worried me a lot,” Suarez told La Vangardia, referring to the knee problem. “Much more than the goals, because I’ve been on streaks where I haven’t scored before. I feared the injury might affect me psychologically, too.

“My attitude wasn’t the same, nor my intensity. … I was in pain, even though I didn’t say I was in pain. Taking that break was important for me. Since November, I’ve been spectacular. I was able to rest, recover and sort myself out psychologically.”

Suarez’s recent hot streak since has seen him move above Samuel Eto’o and Rivaldo on the list of Barcelona’s all-time top scorers. With 140 goals in 178 appearances, he’s behind club legend Paulinho Alcantara (143) in seventh.

Luis Suarez has returned to form for Barcelona, scoring 16 goals in 17 matches.

The Uruguayan’s form is going to be important in the second half of the season as Barcelona remain in the hunt for what would be their third Treble.

Ernesto Valverde’s side are nine points clear in La Liga, can reach a fifth consecutive Copa del Rey final on Thursday if they get past Valencia and face Chelsea in the Champions League round of 16.

Since the humbling to Madrid in the Super Cup in August, Barca have lost just once in 35 games and Suarez says it’s only natural that thoughts are beginning to turn to another treble.

“Obviously, the situation we’re in invites us to think about [the treble],” he added. “La Liga is your bread and butter and we have a good lead at the top, but we’re not going to relax on that.

“Now we have the Copa. It will be tough, but we’re close to reaching another final. The Champions League is different. If you switch off for five or 10 minutes in each game, like we did last season, you get punished. We have to learn from that to be able to dream about winning [the Treble] again.”

Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.


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