Jules Kounde has said he did not think his injury was ‘anything serious’ after his early withdrawal from play on Saturday – a much needed boost for Barcelona and France.
Kounde came off with just over 15 minutes to go of normal time in the league match at Valencia.
His Barcelona teammates finished the game with all three points after Robert Lewandowski‘s winner deep into stoppage time, and staying top of the LaLiga table in the process.
With just three weeks until the World Cup, injury concerns put national places at jeopardy.
Jules Kounde said the muscle issue that forced his early withdrawal at Valencia is not serious
But according to AS after the match, 23-year-old Kounde said he was not concerned about the problem – but did feel that all players were being asked to do too much.
‘I have a [muscle] overload,’ the Frenchman said. ‘Let’s see but I don’t think it’s anything serious.
‘You have to try to do your best to take care of yourself physically. There are too many games but we are not the ones in charge. I think they should think more about the players.’
Fellow Barcelona teammate Eric Garcia (right) was also forced off early after an awkward fall
Teammate Eric Garcia was also forced off the pitch in the first half of the Valencia match after falling awkwardly, but in his flash interview post-match, Barcelona manager Xavi did not seem overly concerned about either.
Xavi said: ‘It’s natural. Jules Koundé has made a tremendous effort, we have pushed him and it is normal. We have been changing him. It seems that it is not an injury, it is rather strong discomfort.
‘And it seems that Eric is not an injury either. It’s discomfort that has been dragging on for a long time.
Xavi praised the commitment of his Barcelona players despite the World Cup on the horizon
‘They want to force the issue, they want to play even though there is a World Cup. And their commitment is maximal.’
Kounde will be hoping to feature for France’s World Cup campaign which begins on November 22 against Australia, while Garcia’s Spain start their competition against Costa Rica the following day.
Meanwhile, Barcelona face a dead rubber Champions League match against Viktoria Plzen on Tuesday, before domestic games against Almeria and Osasuna ahead of the World Cup break.