All eyes were on Ronald Koeman who seemed to be have heavily altered the team’s structure ahead of the visit to Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, where Sevilla awaited them. It turned out to be an incredible tactical masterclass, as Barcelona bested the Andalusian outfit away from home, registering a 2-0 win.
Speaking to the media following the win, Ronald Koeman was in high praise for his players, and claimed that he was very proud of their win today: “I am very proud, especially in physical terms because we have equaled a very strong team without the ball and with the ball we have been calm. That has made the difference today.”
Koeman explained his set-up without giving too much away, knowing that he has to face them in the Copa del Rey in midweek. He said, “We have changed the system to put better pressure on Sevilla. We haven’t left them quiet throughout the match. Today’s key was not to let Sevilla play and have a lot of aggressiveness. It was a very complete match.”
Antoine Griezmann spent all 90 minutes on the bench for this game, and naturally, the journalists started to suspect if there was a hidden message behind this decision. Koeman replied, “There is no message. We changed the system to take advantage of Dembélé’s speed and then Braithwaite came in because it was the best for the team today.”
Unfortunately, Barcelona had to watch Pedri and Ronald Araujo hobble off the pitch tonight, which is bound to raise questions, and increase anxiousness among fans. Koeman seemed to be calm about it, though, and said, “We have a squad that can overcome the injury problem we have. We will wait and see who will be there and who not on Wednesday.”
In continuation about his comments about the game on Wednesday, Koeman said, “Today’s match will help us pull off the comeback. But we must not forget that it’s a different game. We must understand that.”
He signed off with praise for Ilaix Moriba, who came on and assisted Barcelona’s second goal of the night: “Ilaix came on and he helped us. He was very calm with the ball.”
La Liga chief Javier Tebas talks summer transfers and fan return to stadiums
In a conference held by ADEA Forum (Association of managers and executives of Aragon) in Zaragoza, Javier Tebas spoke on a wide range of topics surrounding La Liga.
Mostly, the La Liga president spoke regarding the league’s bounce back from the pandemic and some potential plans for the league to restore public crowds. He also discussed the losses incurred, the summer transfers, among other things.
The Condition of La Liga
Tebas started the conference by claiming that the situation for the Spanish league is comparatively better than other leagues.
Speaking on this, he said, “The situation is worrying, but not so much. I think that of this pandemic the Spanish League is the one that is going to turn out less badly compared to the others.”
He then spoke about the losses incurred in Spanish football, with the net loss amounting to €1 billion by the 30th of September.
On the losses, Tebas said, “Of this billion, 750 have been financed by banks or investment funds, the latter the majority based in London, and the rest have been done by the clubs pulling their cash.”
Additionally, he mentioned that it was big clubs that were affected stronger than the smaller clubs, due to the huge loss of income from the lack of crowds, among other profitable economic activities that clubs such as Real Madrid and Barcelona enjoy above others.
A return for crowds to stadiums
When speaking on a return of crowds to stadiums, the La Liga chief seemed tremendously confident in their ability to host crowds as early as tomorrow. He claimed that they would have to run at between 20% to 30% capacity; nonetheless, the Spaniard was confident that teams would be more than capable of hosting crowds very soon.
Speaking on the same, he said, “There is a working group for the return [of fans] to the stadiums. I hope that in the last league games we can see the public in a proportional amount.”
Upcoming transfer window
Speaking on the summer transfer window, the president claimed that there will indeed be a lower amount of transfers as there were in the previous window. Tebas said, “They have already been lower in winter. There may be occasional and exceptional operations, but globally it will decrease. There will be exchanges of players. It’s going to be lower than last year.”
Accordingly, clubs are going to have to dig into their academy reserves more and more as the global and financial situations amend over time.