Ronald Koeman masterminded a comeback win against Athletic Club at the San Mames, as Barcelona got three crucial points in La Liga. The club is now much closer to their pre-season expectations, sitting third in the table, just five points adrift of Real Madrid who are second to only Atletico Madrid. While the future is unpredictable, the team seems to be growing with each passing day.
The Dutch manager addressed the media’s concern after the win, speaking about the league, individual performances, and an all-important win on the road.
A crucial away win
On the performance: “We controlled the game, we played well, we created opportunities, and we scored great goals.”
On the team’s efficiency in front of goal: “Today we were efficient in front of goal by scoring thrice away from home. We must continue this way.”
On the team’s growth: “The team is growing and playing with a lot of confidence.”
On the title race: “La Liga is not over yet, and we are still in the race for the title.”
An attacking masterclass
On Messi’s shots that hit the post: “Scoring three goals at San Mamés is great. Messi was a bit unlucky, he hit the post twice.”
On the front-three of Griezmann, Messi, and Dembele: “Messi, Griezmann and Dembélé created a lot of danger for the opposition.”
On Messi becoming the joint-top scorer in the league: “Messi has given his all since day one. I’m not surprised by the stuff he does because he has been consistently doing it for so many years. He’s relaxed and eager to win.”
On Pedri’s ace performance: “Pedri is at a very high level. He has proved that he is mature on the pitch despite his age. He’s a very important part of the squad.”
On Dembele spectacular return from injury: “If Dembélé feels physically comfortable to play then he will perform well. He gives the team a lot of options in attack, and he is great in 1v1 situation. I try to control his minutes because he isn’t used to playing so many games consecutively.”