And while the players are off playing for their countries, Ronald Koeman talks about the Champions League and his squad to the press. The Barcelona coach discussed the upcoming campaign as well as his players for the club’s official site.
The Dutchman certainly doesn’t have the easiest of jobs in the world. After all, he’s inherited a largely unbalanced squad of players with incredibly high expectations. But even with that being said, they’ve been really good so far.
“Overall, the team have looked very good, above all against Villarreal and Celta Vigo. However, if we look at the game against Sevilla, we can improve our pressing. There are details that can be corrected.”
All of that, of course, starts with proper training, something the team’s been lacking for years. However, Koeman has ensured that changes for the better with more intensity and concentration.
“We ask for the utmost concentration and intensity in training, so that it is automatically reflected in games. That’s why training has a greater intensity because how you train is how you play.”
Even though Barcelona are a team constantly on the attack, defending is also an art that needs to be mastered. When it comes to off the ball responsibilities, everything starts with the forward line and teamwork is key.
“Defence always starts with the forwards. If they press well, then our defenders don’t have as many problems. Defending is a team thing, and that could be one of the reasons that our defence has got better.”
One other thing he’s changed is the formation of the squad, abandoning the traditional 4-3-3 in favour of the 4-2-3-1.
“With this squad and with these types of players, in my opinion 4-2-3-1 is the best formation. Looking at the quality that we have, this formation is perfect for the team.”
Of course, he had to address some of his players as well, mentioning Sergiño Dest, Miralem Pjanić and Lionel Messi.
“Dest played a few minutes against Sevilla and he was really composed on the pitch. He has stayed here during the international break to adapt quickly to his new surroundings.”
“Leo has proved during his career that he is a winner. Whether it’s training or a game, he will be there giving everything he’s got. I think that’s why he is the captain of the team.”
“Pjanić arrived a little late, but he will gradually get back in shape. He has got a lot of quality.”
A lot of people want to see Barcelona succeed in Europe and the way Koeman talks about the Champions League, there’s room for optimism.
“It’s a very important competition. In theory we are the best in the group, but we have to show that. We start at home against Ferencváros, which is an important game for which we have to prepare and analyse the opposition.”