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Koeman talks Mingueza, Guardiola, Eric Garcia ahead of Athletic Bilbao clash

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Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

After a series of robust consecutive games on the road, Barcelona finally return to the Camp Nou to take on Athletic Bilbao in gameweek 21 of La Liga. This is the third time Barcelona will be facing the Basque outfit in January, with both sides winning a game each thus far.

Ronald Koeman knows the importance of this fixture, and that it can spring them to second place if Real Madrid lose to Levante at home. Ahead of the encounter, Koeman addressed the media in his pre-game press conference.

On the clash: “Bilbao is a strong team that plays well in these kind of games. We must be focused, and we must stick to our game plan. We also have to make the best out of our chances.”

On Umtiti’s recovery: “A Barça player always has to be prepared for anything. Umtiti has been out for some time due to an injury, he has recovered well and we are counting on him.”

On the possibility of playing Mingueza: “Mingueza has played many games and we have let him play with the first team and he has played as a center-back and right-back. We’ll see what might happen in the future. Nobody knows.”

On Eric Garcia: “I have already said several times that we are changing things this season. We want young players.”

On the situation in the league: “We know our situation in the league. It is complicated but until the day the day it’s over we will try to win our games, there is no other way about it.”

On Pep Guardiola’s 50th birthday: “I have spoken with Pep to congratulate him on his 50th birthday, but we have not talked about García because it is not my job. We know that he will surely come next season and if it is not possible this January we will accept it and move on.”

On the return of Roberto: “He is eager to be part of tomorrow’s squad list; there’s a possibility he might join the squad.”

On Jean-Claire Todibo returning to Barcelona: “Todibo is a Barça player but I’m not going to count on him.”

Source: BarçaTV+

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