Philippe Coutinho is proving Antonio Conte wrong as he continues to star on loan at Aston Villa. Coutinho linked up with Steven Gerrard’s men in the January transfer window, initially until the end of the season.
He had endured a torrid time at Barcelona, falling out of favour under a succession of managers and being blighted by injury.
But since returning to the Premier League, he has kickstarted his career once again, playing a starring role in Gerrard’s revival of Villa.
That started on his debut, when he scored in the draw against Manchester United, before also getting on the scoresheet against Leeds and adding two assists.
His latest impressive display came on Saturday, when Villa hammered Southampton 4-0 to continue their strong form under Gerrard.
Coutinho’s first major contribution to the win came on the stroke of half-time when he produced a sumptuous assist to set Douglas Luiz up to score.
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“When Phil is in the mood, he is a world-class player. He probably finished my career a couple of years early; he’s the reason I’ve got screws in my knees and groins!”
Gerrard’s comments will not be welcomed by Conte, who The Mirror reported personally blocked Tottenham’s move for him in January.
Spurs were said to be in the running to sign the Brazilian themselves in the January window as Barca looked to move him on.
But the Italian personally stepped in to block the potential deal, which paved the way for Villa to sign him instead.
Coutinho’s performances since arriving at Villa Park appear to show that Conte was wrong to make that decision.
Tottenham’s results in that timespan would also appear to bring Conte’s decision-making into question, with Spurs badly missing his creativity.
Conte will likely be wishing he had in fact sanctioned a deal to bring Coutinho to Spurs given his starring role at Villa.
Instead of lining up for Tottenham against Everton on Monday, Coutinho will be preparing to face Leeds on Thursday.