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Koeman talks Pedri, Bartomeu, and Araujo ahead of Sevilla clash

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Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images

After the awe-inspiring win against Sevilla in the league on the weekend, all pressure is on Barcelona to mirror that performance when they face the Andalusian outfit in midweek in the Copa del Rey. Barça are down by 2-0 after the first-leg and will need a mammoth win to force Julien Lopetegui’s men to bow down to them in the semi-finals.

Ronald Koeman was certainly the man of the match on the weekend, and ahead of the Kings’ Cup encounter, he addressed the media as part of his pre-game press conference.

He started off with speaking about how the win in the league might help them do the same on Wednesday, and he said, “After the result in the league we are confident that we can win, but we’re aware that we are 2-0 down. We have to play a better game than Saturday to get through. Nothing is impossible.”

Naturally, the topic of Pedri came up. The teenager had to hobble off after a foul by Joan Jordan int he 0-2 win, and was suspected to be out for two fortnights at the very least. To the shock of fans everywhere, Pedri returned to training today, and Koeman was as surprised as everyone else: “Pedri? There are things that are hard to explain. I was also surprised yesterday afternoon. He did an individual training without any discomfort and this morning he also trained normally. I think he’s ready to be on the list tomorrow.”

Apart from Pedri, the only other name on everyone’s minds is that of Josep Bartomeu. The former president was arrested yesterday because of his involvement in the BarçaGate scandal along with club CEO Oscar Grau and head of legal counsel Roman Ponti. Bartomeu was the one who offered the job of head coach to Koeman, and naturally the Dutchman spoke in favour of the ex-president, saying, “Bartomeu’s arrest? I don’t know what happened, I wasn’t here and I can’t comment on this. We have to focus on our work and try to come back, but the image of the club I think isn’t good. For me, Bartomeu has always been an exceptional person.”

With the elections set to come to a come close this weekend, Koeman’s job might be under scrutiny as Xavi’s name has been mentioned time and again. Koeman, though, seemed calm about it, and said, “Xavi? I’m not worried. I have a contract in force and when we know who the president is, of course we will talk. But it will be next week, for now we are thinking about tomorrow’s game.”

Koeman’s change of formation on the weekend with picture-perfect tactics won Barcelona the game vs Sevilla, and he was inquired about the same in the presser: “3-5-2 again? The most important thing in a system is the mentality of the team, to press and be united when possible. It doesn’t matter if there are more or less defenders, the important thing is to work, press, play well with the ball and be confident.”

Ronald Araujo came on as a substitute in the game vs Sevilla but had to be subbed off after facing discomfort, again, in his ankle. Sadly, he was not part of group training today, and Koeman suspects that they will have to wait until tomorrow: “Araújo has not trained with the team because he still has discomfort, tomorrow morning we will decide whether or not he can enter the list.”

Koeman ended the presser on a high note, calling Barcelona the biggest club in the world: “Barça is the biggest club in the world, everyone is attentive to what happens at Barcelona. A lot is happening at the club and there is a lot of talk, but that is because of the greatness of Barcelona.”

Source: BarçaTV+

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