Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman held a press-conference ahead of the club’s Champions League clash against Ferencváros. The Dutchman spoke about the current pressure on him as a manager, and stayed positive about his players, expecting them to get better over time.
“We want to start the Champions League on the right foot. At Barça you are always pressured to win as a coach and as a player. It’s normal to face difficult moments, but we are excited to play tomorrow’s game. We must win.”Ronald Koeman in the press-conference ahead of Ferencváros
Koeman was asked about Ousmane Dembélé’s latest performance with the Catalan club against Getafe:
“He’s training and doing well. He did lose possession a lot against Getafe, but it’s the way he plays. He played better in the second half, and he’s working hard to get minutes.”Ronald Koeman in the press-conference ahead of Ferencváros
The Dutchman added his thoughts on Lionel Messi’s relatively performance drop, admitting that the Argentine is not at his best form right now:
“He might not be at his best at the moment, but he’s happy and he’s training well. He wants to be the captain and wants to play. I have no doubt about his performance, and I’m sure he will score in the coming games.”Ronald Koeman in the press-conference ahead of Ferencváros
Koeman was also asked about the club’s failure in the Champions League in recent years, but the 57-year-old pointed towards the fact that he was not coaching the club, hence doesn’t have an answer:
“I don’t know why Barça have failed in the UCL in the past years. If we fail this year then I can answer that.”Ronald Koeman in the press-conference ahead of Ferencváros
However, Koeman also admitted that Barcelona is not ‘favorites’ to win the European competition.
“We’re not the top favourites to win the Champions League, but we can go far.”Ronald Koeman in the press-conference ahead of Ferencváros
After tomorrow’s game against Ferencváros, Barcelona will play against Real Madrid. For that reason, Koeman is expected to for some rotation in his line-up, resting his key players.
Koeman talks Griezmann, Pjanic, Messi following 3-0 win over Elche
Barcelona were able to put the draw against Cadiz behind them as they welcome Elche to the Camp Nou for a rescheduled round 1 fixture of La Liga. A brace from Lionel Messi and the dagger in the 73rd minute from Jordi Alba was enough for the hosts to seal the 3-0 win and the three points. Barça temporarily move into third place, two clear off Sevilla, who have a game in hand.
Following the game, Ronald Koeman spoke to the press as part of his post-game presser, where he acknowledged the improvements made by the team in the second half: “We were much better in the second half than we were in the first half. Everything went more fluently, and we had more depth.”
Miralem Pjanic had a decent outing in the first half, but was subbed off at the 45 minute mark for Ousmane Dembele. Koeman was asked about the same, to which he replied, “Pjanić? He has to work on his rhythm on the ball and his positioning. When you change a player it seems to be his fault, but that’s not it. With Dembélé we would have more depth, and that’s why we subbed him on.”
Leo Messi was the difference maker on the night, but it seems that the Dutch manager is far from impressed with the other veterans in the squad: “When I talk about veteran players, I don’t mean Leo, because his effectiveness is still impressive. Other veterans have to make a difference.”
The media was curious about the lack of goals in the first half, which changed almost immediately in the second. Koeman said the the score-less half was not down to the attitude of the team: “I liked the team’s attitude. That we couldn’t score in the first half, doesn’t mean our attitude was bad. Sometimes things just don’t work out. We’re humans, not machines.”
Antoine Griezmann was brought on later in the game to extend the cushion by Barça, but failed to take the easiest of chances, hitting the crossbar from close range. However, the decision to not start him was particularly interesting, and Koeman was inquired about the same: “Griezmann needed rest because he played a lot. We play many games, and sometimes fatigue is visible. We have to be fresh, and hence the changes today.”