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Koeman talks Pedri, Messi, Pjanic, and the break following Valladolid victory



Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images

Ronald Koeman innovated against Real Valladolid. The Dutch manager strayed away from his trusted 4-2-3-1 and it paid off. After such a promising performance, Koeman answered several questions from the media (via Barça TV+).

“We changed the formation to have a little more security back in defense and to take advantage of the quality of the players we have, we had more possession of ball and players in midfield between lines.”

“We were a very serious and focused team out there, we created many chances.”

“I’m very happy with the work we did throughout the game. At first there were some mistakes, but the team was very involved. They did a good job in defense and retrieving balls. We fought to score a lot more goals other than the three we scored.”

Ronald Koeman | Post-match press conference

Barça had a complete performance in a new system. The three defenders, the liberated attack, the rejuvenated midfield; everything clicked for Koeman. His side did a great job and will now try to be consistent.

Koeman put special praise on Pedri, Barcelona’s 18-year-old who is making the difference nowadays. The young gem has already built beautiful chemistry with Lionel Messi, as the Dutch coach explains:

It would be on point to say that every starter had an excellent game. However, some stood out more than others. Against Valladolid, Koeman may have found his best eleven.

“Pedri is very good between the lines. He has a very good connection with Messi and is working hard. He also seems to be very comfortable on the pitch.”

“Pjanic played well. He’s had to wait for his chance to play a whole game. There is competition in the middle of the field, but he’s played a good game, performing his defensive tasks well. Perfect.”

Ronald Koeman | Post-match press conference

Lionel Messi just broke a big record, and the first thing journalists think about is his contract, but it is not really for Koeman to say whether Messi will stay as the Barça captain does not know if he will remain at Camp Nou.

“Messi staying? It’s more of a question for Messi than for me, but I see Leo happy. He’s working hard and he’s very important in our game with his creativity.”

Ronald Koeman | Post-match press conference

Ever since the return from quarantine, every team has played an extortionate amount of games. Barcelona have a six-day break and have gone through the December fixtures pretty well.

“We needed this break. The players feel very tired, they have had to play a lot, and they need to be with their family spending the Christmas parties quietly. Enjoy them and I wish you all a happy holiday!

Ronald Koeman | Post-match press conference

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