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Koeman talks Messi fitness, Neto & Eric Garcia ahead of Spanish Super Cup final

The latest from the Barcelona boss

FC Barcelona Training Session Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images

Ronald Koeman faced the press on Saturday to talk all things Spanish Super Cup ahead of Sunday’s final against Athletic in Seville.

The Barca boss spoke about Lionel Messi’s fitness, Eric Garcia’s proposed move, rumors of a Neto exit and also how Sergi Roberto and Ansu Fati are progressing.

Here are the best bits:

Koeman on Athletic

The team is fine, they are happy, excited to play the final tomorrow. We were pretty tired, but 3-4 days is enough time to recover. Athletic are very competitive and if they pressure us up high we need to play our game, dominate the game and play our style. We saw against Real Sociedad the other day they pressed well and it was tough for us to get into the game. We need to get into the game and play up to our level like we have done in recent matches.

Koeman on Messi

Leo trained individually yesterday. We train today at six, he’ll train and we’ll see. We’ll see what he thinks, whether he thinks he’s ready or not. The player will have the last word, as always, he knows his body better than anybody else. We’ll have to see tomorrow morning how his body reacts, but we hope he can be ready for the game.

Koeman on Eric Garcia not coming

I’ve heard in the press that I’m unhappy, that I’m worried and some other things as well. I have to tell you I’m OK, I’m happy, I know the economic limitations of the club right now. If it’s not possible then it can’t be and we’ll play with the players we have.

Koeman on the dressing room spirit

It’s important because it’s a final, there’s a title in play. And it’s important to win. It’s not the most important title to play for but it is a title. And every title you can sign your name too, that’s something, for the players, coaches and the club too.

Koeman on the importance of winning

I think if we win it will obviously confirm we are on the right path, but it’s not the most decisive thing for our season. As far as confidence is concerned, and to confirm we are improving, yes it’s another chance to show we are a strong team, a team that battles, like in the last few games, that we are committed. We will have to be committed because we are going to face a tough opponent who will be firing on all cylinders.

Koeman on Sergi Roberto and Ansu

Sergi Roberto for sure will be back before Ansu. I don’t want to put exact dates to put pressure on the players. They have to rehab well. For Sergi it could be a couple more weeks, more time with Ansu but they have to recover properly that’s the most important thing.

Koeman on Neto leaving?

If we talk about players, we talk about youngsters. I’ve said several times for some players it could be good for them to have more minutes to improve as players. Neto is a different case, it’s true his agent asked the club to move on and we said no because he’s important for us and we want to have all positions covered.

Koeman on advice to young players playing first final

I would tell them not to put too much importance on the game, to play the way you need to play, to trust yourself. I think there’s enough maturity and experience on our team. There are players who have played many, many finals who can give the youngsters the chance to relax.

Koeman on if Messi will play if he’s not 100 percent

Every player needs to be 100 per cent to start the game because it’s not the last game of the season, we still have a lot of games after this one. It’s about the risk but the final decision will be by the player. We now have our training session. He will get his feeling about his body, about if he can start or not. Then we will speak and make the decision tomorrow morning.

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