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Dembele needs to improve off the pitch, admits Barcelona team-mate

Jordi Alba says off-field drama has blighted an otherwise bright campaign for the star.

Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele.
Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele.

BARCELONA FULL-BACK Jordi Alba insisted the La Liga leaders are happy with Ousmane Dembele, but admitted the forward has areas for improvement off the pitch.

Dembele, 21, has endured disciplinary issues this season, but showcased his talent with a stunning individual goal against Tottenham in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Despite that performance however, Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde conceded Dembele wasn’t off the hook just yet after showing up two hours late to training.

Alba and his team-mates seemingly have no problem with the France international however, although the Spaniard revealed Dembele’s off-field behaviour could use some work.

“He is an important player for us,” he said on Thursday.

“He’s young, but in the dressing room we’ve never had any issues. At the end of the day he is playing well.

“Things can improve off the pitch but we are happy with him.”

In 20 games for Barcelona this season, Dembele has contributed nine goals and five assists with Robert Pires claiming the Catalans shouldn’t consider swapping him for Neymar.

Lionel Messi has also jumped to Dembele’s defence in recent times, declaring the club ‘needs’ him amidst reported transfer interest from Arsenal.

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