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Koeman talks Messi, Joaquin and Ter Stegen ahead of Real Betis clash

The latest from the Barcelona boss

FC Barcelona v Dynamo Kyiv: Group G - UEFA Champions League Photo by Urbanandsport/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Ronald Koeman faced the press to talk all things Barcelona and Real Betis on Friday ahead of his team’s La Liga match at the Camp Nou.

The Dutch coach was asked plenty of questions about Lionel Messi, offered his thoughts on Saturday’s opponents and also spoke about several other players.

Here are the best bits:

Koeman on Real Betis

Any game is important, it doesn’t depend on the situation. Betis are a team that play good football and it’s a complicated game. We have to correct Wednesday’s mistakes, especially in defense. We are ready.

Koeman on Joaquin’s comments

I understand that this is interesting for you guys. We all know he speaks well but if there’s a problem it’s his problem. I’m focused on this match and not individual things that happened many years ago.

Koeman on Umtiti

Umtiti still isn’t training in all of the sessions that we do. He only does parts. We have done tactical things he has missed so we have to wait for the moment when he is training well. He’s still in his final phase, if he’s ok physically and mentally than I can call upon him.

Koeman on Ter Stegen

We’ve not rushed Marc back, we wanted to wait to see him in training to see if he’s ok. But of course it’s important for him to play after such a long time. He worked hard, he had lots of 1 on 1s which he saved. So in his first match he’s been fantastic, we know he’s great. I’m very happy with his performance after such a long time away.

Koeman on goals from outside the box

We’ve spoken about this, We have players who always look for the pass inside the area, we need to score those goals from outside. But I am not going to change a player in two months, we are working with the midfielders, if you don’t shoot you don’t score.

Koeman on Riqui and Alena

With Alena I spoke about his future here, as with Riqui. I have seen Alena with a lot of enthusiasm in training. He’s always there trying to give as much as he can and wanting to improve as a pivot. If someone deserves minutes I give it to him, it is always in the hands of the players.

Koeman on Messi walking critics

I didn’t see him and I’m not interested in this. If you want to start a controversy around this point, it’s your problem. Messi is mentally good, looks strong, enjoying this sport. He’s a winner and sometimes you go through moments when the ball doesn’t go in, but he looks really focused.

He’s very important to our game. He scored the penalty and we’re used to him making the difference here, and he’s still a very decisive player. You said it was from the 93rd minute - there are pictures of anyone, of me when I’m sitting down, or annoyed. It seems we should be more aware of our image than our work. I don’t agree with that.

Koeman on Frenkie de Jong’s postition

We are limited in defence because of injuries, so we’ve seen Frenkie can play in that position particularly against opposition that we think are going to have the ball a lot and create opportunities in midfield. But I think more about Frenkie playing in midfield.

Koeman on not resting Messi

First of all every day we receive information about the physical condition of every player. If there is one player who is not 100% to play then he won’t play. We know the program at the moment for players is complicated, every 2-3 days to play, but the question is always about the physical state of the players. If they are 100%, then in my opinion it’s not necessary to give them a rest.

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