Former Barcelona Sporting director Robert Fernandez believes the club must ‘protect and defend’ Ousmane Dembele from media pressure.
Fernandez was responsible for signing the Frenchman from Borussia Dortmund in a deal worth a reported €140m but despite his fine performances on the pitch, his attitude off it has come under scrutiny.
“Barcelona have to protect Dembele,” Fernandez told Marca.
“The press is very entertained with the idea of him falling asleep and I think, to a certain extent, that is not that bad – I have seen many cases of players falling asleep.
“How are these things being found out so easily? I’m not saying that there is a campaign from the club, but we need to protect the player.
“If he is making mistakes then we must defend him and try to turn it into a favourable situation, we must defend him in the same way as many other players both at Barca and elsewhere.
“Ousmane is a young player who makes mistakes but the club must be on top of him and create the conditions for him to thrive.
“If he was 27 then I would not have signed him but he is 21 and that is the age where Barcelona has the capability of fixing his mistakes.
“He had a serious injury last season then a relapse, he had not played for five months and was under an unbelievable volume of pressure.
“I have read that the captains have spoken with Dembele and if that is true that is very important, because he will learn many things.”