For the first time since February, Barcelona managed to make a comeback. Ronald Koeman masterminded the win against Real Sociedad, and his side thoroughly deserved the three points. The Dutchman spoke in the post-match press conference (via Barça TV+).
“The first half was fantastic. We probably played our best first half of the season. We were good on the ball and pressed well. The second half was more complicated.”Ronald Koeman | Post-match press conference
Imanol Alguacil, Real Sociedad’s coach, was also on the same page as Koeman: “We have seen the best version of Barça in defence and in aggression since a long time. I don’t remember the last time a Barça like that,” he said.
The Catalans indeed thoroughly dominated the first half, but La Real showed much more intensity in the second. After all, the win still has shown promising signs that Koeman has to work on.
“We didn’t dominate possession, but we deserved the win. This is the Barcelona I want to see, and the Barcelona I like.Ronald Koeman | Post-match press conference
“The second half was difficult because we played against a really good team. They’re not at the top of La Liga for no reason.”
“This is the team I want to see, every player has given his all. When we have the ball, we always create opportunities. Today the difference has been our game without the ball.
While the second half was not as much of an exhibition as the first, it is much more down to the visitors getting more into the game than Barça willingly backing down. Sometimes, the opponents deserve some credit for their performances as well.
Koeman was also asked about the newly-formed pair in the centre-back, namely La Masia graduates Mingueza and Araujo:
“Mingueza and Araujo know how to play under pressure. I’m happy with their performances.”Ronald Koeman | Post-match press-conference
The two had wonderful chemistry in the back, highly due to the fact that they know each other from the academy already. Perhaps, this means Clément Lenglet’s time as an undisputable starter is over. After years of searching for competent defenders, it looks like Barcelona found them in their youth system.
After months of stubbornness with his system, Koeman has reverted back to a more traditional system. If he can recreate the performance against PSG in February, he might turn his team’s fortunes around. The Dutchman concluded his words:
Ronald Koeman | Post-match press conference
“The attitude of the team has been very good, we have taken a giant step. We have seen a team that knows how to put pressure and we have done it in front of a team that’s leading La Liga.”
Barcelona have spent a record 1 billion Euros in last five seasons
At this point, practically everyone not living under a rock knows Barcelona are struggling financially. Part of that issue is certainly the ongoing pandemic, which has put more than just a dent in everyone’s wallets. However, the other part of that problem was also self-inflicted when it comes to the Catalan giants.
According to Carrusel Deportivo‘s latest report, Barcelona have spent a record one billion euros in the last five seasons on the market. They’ve gathered the information from Transfermarkt and their data source of spendings to create a list of teams who have spent the most in recent times.
And with a total of 1.057 million euros thrown down the drain, Barcelona have convincingly taken the first spot. Of course, this is not exactly a race you want to be leading or winning, for that matter. Manchester City are just behind them with €952M and Juventus are third with €941M.
Interestingly, Real Madrid are the ones who have lost the least amount, ‘only’ €47M, which is indeed pocket change compared to Barcelona’s €367M. Still, it has to be noted that the Catalans are also the club with the second-highest income in the last five years, €690M to be more precise, but that is so heavily outweighed by the losses that it hardly makes a difference.
When we take all of that into account, it really does become crystal clear why they are in such a mess in the first place. Needless to say, whoever wins the elections in less than a week’s time will have a mountain to climb to get the club out of this mess.
But we should also understand that kind of a job is not something you can solve quickly. It may take a couple of seasons of good and sensible business to bring Barcelona back from the brink.
Still, it is possible and with the right leadership, it should inevitably happen.