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Ronald Koeman talks Miralem Pjanic, Barcelona fitness and Joan Gamper Trophy

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The latest from the boss

FC Barcelona v Girona - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Urbanandsport/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Ronald Koeman has been talking about a range of topics ahead of Saturday’s Joan Gamper Trophy clash against Elche at the Camp Nou.

The traditional curtain-raiser is Barca’s last friendly before the start of the season and also Koeman’s first game in charge at the Camp Nou.

Koeman says he’s looking forward to the fixture and also spoke about how his team is looking ahead of the new La Liga season.

“It is a special challenge for me to be at the Camp Nou for the last game before the start of LaLiga. It’s a game to look forward to. It’s a good match because it’s an opponent who plays in the first division. It is a test on a physical and football level.

“We’ve been here for three weeks and I think the team and the players have improved a lot in terms of physical appearance.

“We have also worked well on tactical issues. We saw good things in the last friendly against Girona and hopefully we will see a complete match in the Gamper.”

Barcelona have won their first two pre-season friendlies 3-1 against Nastic and Girona. New signing Miralem Pjanic has not been able to play in either game but is expected to make his debut against Elche.

“He will be in the [squad] list. He’s not 100 percent to play from the start, but he might have few minutes tomorrow.”

The Catalan giants will then turn their attentions back to La Liga. Villarreal are up first at the Camp Nou before a visit to Celta Vigo three days later.