“Ousmane Dembele has changed.” That phrase has been heard various times in the dressing room in the last three and a half years, but whoever said it has been wrong. Until no. SPORT sources at the club genuinely believe this could be the definitive change for good. Before Cornella, Ousmane has started five games in a row, showing stamina and grit, playing at good pace in extra-time against Real Sociedad. In the Copa he played 105 minutes, coming on at half-time, and scored the winning goal effectively in extra-time.
Dembele has played 593 minutes since he reappeared after his Cadiz injury. Against Eibar he came on for Dest and scored the equaliser. He did well in Huesca from the left and since then has remained in the XI, until Cornella.
Dembele’s big change has come from his attitude. He arrives to training and works in the gym to prevent injuries. He follows the right steps in the sessions to safeguard his physical conditions, his speed and rests at the right moments to keep himself in optimum state.
“It all depends on him and he’s responding,” said a club source. Dembele has learned he needs to maintain strict standards to stay in the football elite.
The same was true of Lionel Messi once upon a time. He changed his diet and worked on his strength and it helped him a lot.
Dembele has now beaten his second best run of games as a starter, back in 2019 when he faced Malaga, Chelsea, Athletic and Sevilla.
In 2018-19, he played nine games in a row as a starter. The Spanish Super Cup against Sevilla, seven league games, and one Champions League match against PSV.
However that year he suffered a bad injury against Celta Vigo that ended his campaign and he could not play at Anfield, as Barca suffered the humiliating 4-0 defeat.
In 2019-20 he needed surgery again and did not play under Quique Setien at all as a result.
Now he has the trust of Ronald Koeman, this is a great chance. He’s indisputably in Barca’s best XI, with Leo Messi and compatriot and friend Griezmann.
His introverted character has not helped him at Barca, some thought he was irredeemable, but the Mosquito has awakened. Here’s hoping it’s not a mirage and finally, we have the real Ousmane Dembele.
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