Barcelona left-back Jordi Alba has come out in defence of teammate Ousmane Dembele following criticism directed at the Frenchman due to his late arrivals at practices but did admit his off-field behaviour “could improve.”
The 21-year-old forward was reportedly fined €100,000 by Barca for indiscipline.
Sources told ESPN FC that Barca security was sent to fetch Dembele who was more than two hours late for Sunday’s training session. He later apologised to the entire team.
“Anyone can make a mistake, but within the dressing room there has never been any issue with Dembele,” Alba said as reported in Marca.
Barca have been concerned about some elements of Dembele’s lifestyle.
Last month, he missed a training session and while the club claimed he had a stomach bug, media reports said the player had been up all night playing computer games with friends.
Dembele scored one goal and set up another in Barca’s 4-0 derby triumph over Espanyol at the weekend and followed up that performance by netting Barca’s goal in a 1-1 draw with Tottenham in Tuesday’s Champions League.
“He is a very important player for us,” Alba said. “He is doing what he is supposed to be doing out on the pitch. Off the pitch, he could improve, but we are happy with him.”