Koeman delighted with team’s display against Real Sociedad: “Today’s win was a great birthday gift”
Coach Ronald Koeman, who celebrated his 58th birthday yesterday, along with Barcelona stars Antoine Griezmann and Jordi Alba, led his team to a performance worthy of revelry. A brilliant 6-1 thrashing of hosts Real Sociedad saw Barcelona continue their spectacular run of form in 2021.
Since the turn of the new year, Koeman’s new system with three defenders at the back has reaped massive rewards. The difference in mentality as well as the change in the team’s cohesion is evident, as they seem to be playing much freely, with each player able to express themselves wonderfully on the pitch.
In 2021, Barcelona have managed to win 12 of their 13 La Liga fixtures. Their win percentage of 92%, is second only to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City who have 15 wins from sixteen Premier League games. The win sees Barcelona keep pace with Atletico Madrid, who are sitting four points clear of Barcelona atop La Liga, heading into the international break.
Here are the birthday boy’s thoughts on the match.
On the performance: “We played a complete match. We created many chances and we were very effective. We dominated after the first goal, and it made things easier for us.”
On the team’s style and change in tactics: “We’ve improved our aggressiveness without the ball a lot. With the change of system the team feels very comfortable and the full-backs have more depth. They’ve all played a great game today.”
On being called the fittest team in La Liga: “I don’t know if we are the fittest team in La Liga, but it’s true that we have improved a lot. We have to continue, game by game.”
On making a statement: “We’ve been very effective. The most positive thing is the image we gave, a demonstration that we are going for everything.”
On the perfect birthday celebration: “What the players gave me today is the most beautiful birthday present, also for Griezmann and Jordi Alba.”
On the turn in fortune: “We’ve changed things and any team needs time to learn from a new coach. We had some ups and downs, with mistakes, without effectiveness… The team didn’t give up and found itself.”