Barcelona thrashed Dynamo Kyiv this Tuesday. The Catalans are now through to the round of 16. Ronald Koeman shared his thoughts about his team’s performance.
“We met our goal, which was to pull off a good result and qualify for the round of 16. The team had energy, we lacked effectiveness in the first half, but we had it in the second. And good football. We can be very happy.Ronald Koeman | Post-match press conference
“Today, we have seen a very hungry team. We scored four goals, important players were able to rest, and the youngsters have deserved these minutes. They have delivered.”
After a horrid start in the league, the least the Catalans could do was qualify for the round of 16 of the Champions League. The Blaugranas did it in style and thrashed pretty much every opposition. The backup players dominated and maybe gave their manager a bit of a headache, but a necessary one. Now, Sergiño Dest or Carles Aleña might get a look in.
“Mingueza could play more matches as a centre-back. Today he proved himself.Ronald Koeman | post-match press conference
“Mingueza must continue working hard. He has shown that he can be relied upon.”
Oscar Mingueza showed so much promise against Kyiv. The defender was cool, calm, and collected. He bullied the Ukrainian attackers and his footwork was perfect. He also assisted Martin Braithwaite. The Spaniard’s debut showed he can be called upon whenever the Spanish giants have an injury crisis, as confirmed by Koeman himself as well.
“Griezmann has played almost every game, and also with the national team. The reason why he only has played 30 minutes today is due to physical constraints.Ronald koeman | post-match press conference
“The rotations today were made to rest players and give others a chance that they deserved.”
With an injury, institutional and results crisis at Camp Nou, the least Koeman could have done was rest his players. Some Blaugranas, like Ousmane Dembélé or Antoine Griezmann, deserved to rest while younger players like Aleña or Riqui Puig waited too long to get minutes. The fringe players did really well to thrash their opposition.
Barcelona’s performance shifted entirely in the second half. After a rather dull first half, the squad improved gradually and overrun Dynamo Kyiv — especially in the midfield, according to Koeman:
“We were better than in the first game against them today, especially in midfield. I liked the collective image we showed today. That’s what we want.”Ronald Koeman | post-match press conference
Koeman will continue his campaign in La Liga against Osasuna on Sunday. There is much more pressure on the Dutchman in that game, considering the fact that the Catalan club made one of their worst starts in La Liga history. Despite the great results in the Champions League, all eyes will be on Koeman’s upcoming results.
Lautaro Martínez talks about the summer rumours of playing alongside Messi
It has been quite a while since we’ve last heard about any concrete rumours of Lautaro Martínez potentially joining Barcelona. The Argentine striker was previously a hot target for the Catalans but following a long hassling period with Inter, and some untimely financial issues, the Azulgranas had to abandon their quest.
Now, other players seem to take priority over the young star as Ronald Koeman looks to strengthen the squad even further. However, back in Italy where Martínez is currently playing, the media seem to still have some interest in that particular story.
Recently, the Argentine was asked about the summer rumours of him wanting to play alongside his compatriot, Lionel Messi. The quotes were given to Gazzetta dello Sport but were relayed by Calciomercato.
“It [playing with Messi] was a dream for me too, of course, because playing with him is fantastic. He is the best player in the world. I am lucky enough to play in the national team with him. We, young people, look up to him,” said Lautaro.
These statements don’t come as a particularly big surprise to many. As he mentions himself, young players look up to Leo and who wouldn’t want to share the pitch with him?
Seeing Martínez at the Camp Nou, however, would be extremely difficult given the club’s current circumstances and Inter’s unwillingness to lower their asking price. He is a talent, though, and that much has to be said.
Maybe the transfer can happen further down the line but at the moment, playing with Messi, apart from the national team, could remain a distant dream for the young Argentine star.