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Koeman talks Dembele, international break, Araujo following Valladolid win

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Photo via Imago

A 91st-minute winner from Ousmane Dembele saw Barcelona clinch all three points against Real Valladolid in their La Liga encounter vs Real Valladolid. The win puts them within a point of leaders Atletico Madrid, who lost to Sevilla over the weekend, blowing the title race wide open.

Ronald Koeman’s side continued their fantastic league form in 2021, as they picked up their 13th league win in their last 14 games. Despite a rather lacklustre performance with plenty of misplaced passes and chances gone missing, Barcelona stayed relentless until the end in their pursuit for a goal.

With the El Clasico approaching, Barcelona must build off this performance and shake off the rust from the international break. The encounter against Real Madrid will be a season-defining matchup in the La Liga title race, which is massively hotting up.

Here is what the manager Koeman had to say following the victory:

On the performance: “We played below our standards today. We lost the ball a lot. In the second half, we improved after the system change. It cost us but we deserved to win.”

On the international break’s impact: “Surely the international break has influenced our game today. But we are capable of winning.”

On luck and the players’ mentality: “There are moments in life when you are lucky and in other moments you can be unlucky. We must highlight the mentality of always going for the three points. The players are not machines and there are many games.”

On Dembele: “Dembélé allows us to play differently. He’s key. I would like him to stay, he’s an important player. Today he has shown that with his game and his goal. He’s doing very well. The key is that he has improved physically.”

On Araujo’s cameo: “Araújo played because he needs minutes to get into a rhythm and for the yellow card of Mingueza.”

Source: Barça TV+

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