El Clásico is upon us. Tomorrow afternoon, Barcelona and Real Madrid will clash for the first time in 2020/21 and fireworks are guaranteed. For Ronald Koeman, this will be the first game against Los Blancos as a manager.
The Dutch manager talked to the media in the pre-game press conference and addressed the feelings prior to the match.
“I hope I can get some sleep tonight (laughs). Real Madrid are experienced and they always look to win. We are prepared.”
Of course, it will be entirely different without the fans supporting the team. The game is played at the Camp Nou but the home-side advantage that comes with the fans won’t be there.
“All clubs miss fans. The atmosphere without them is strange, but we will have to get used to it. Hopefully, fans will return to the stadiums soon.”
Obviously, Real Madrid have been shaky as of late, losing two games in a row, one in Europe and one in LaLiga. However, that won’t make a difference to Koeman.
“I will not use Madrid’s last result to determine their form.”
Next, he talked about individuals within his squad. Antoine Griezmann’s situation, Gerard Piqué’s latest interview and Jordi Alba’s path to full recovery.
“Griezmann is just like any other player, he has options to play.”
“Piqué has been here longer than me. He has his opinion and I respect it.”
“The decision is up to him to see if he can play or not. If he is ready, there’s a possibility that he might play tomorrow.”
Finally, he talked about gaining the players’ trust and giving out opportunities to the ones that deserve it, regardless of their age.
“We want to win to gain the players’ trust. They deserve to win after putting in a lot of work the past few days. It doesn’t depend on the age of the player, it depends on what they show on the pitch.”
Dembélé is expected to start against Ferencváros after impressive Osasuna display
Ronald Koeman is well aware of the limitations concerning Ousmane Dembélé. The Frenchman is an incredible asset and a highly talented player. However, he is also injury prone and Barcelona can’t afford to use him relentlessly.
For that reason, the young winger has been on the bench for the last couple of games despite performing on a regularly high level whenever chosen to play. According to a new report from SPORT, however, Dembélé is expected to start Barcelona’s upcoming Champions League clash against Ferencváros.
This is a direct result of another encouraging performance just the other night against Osasuna. The Frenchman came off the bench and even scored a great goal before it was ruled offside. We’ve also seen him play at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium against Atlético Madrid but back then, he sprained his shoulder so Koeman had to be extra careful going into the next games.
But the main thing is that Dembélé is still very much an important part of the squad and offers a unique profile to the coach. For that reason, and seeing how he’s once again 100% fit, everything indicates he’ll be back in the gala XI on Wednesday, as SPORT suggest.
This, needless to say, is a rather encouraging sign for a player who was so close to leaving the club during the summer transfer window.
Long may it continue!