Ronald Koeman held his first press conference of 2021 on Saturday as he looked ahead to Barcelona’s first match of the new year at Huesca.
The Barca boss offered an update on Lionel Messi’s fitness after ankle trouble, spoke about potentials ins and outs in January and also about his team’s fading titles hopes.
Here are the best bits:
Koeman on Huesca
We know every single game is tough. The league is really equal but there are some teams that are suffering, like Huesca. They have not let in many goals at home and I think we have to be prepared for a tough game. We have to improve in many aspects of the game.
Koeman on Messi fitness
Leo is fine. He was training on the 30th and 31st when the rest of the squad was resting so there are no doubts for him. He doesn’t have any discomfort. He is ready, happy and motivated and that’s important for us.
Koeman on Messi future
You have to see his situation. He has said he doesn’t want to make a decision yet so we have to respect him. Any player who ends his contract is free to decide. He is a player who will always demonstrate that he wants the best for the team. It is not a problem that he has not said yet what he wants to do. We don’t have to be worried. We must respect his decision.
Koeman on title hopes
There are many games, many away from home. I am realistic and we are 11 points off the top. You cannot lose many more points. We are not in the position to say that we have many possibilities to win. We cannot lose another game if we want to fight for the championship
Koeman on January buys
If no-one comes it will be because of the club and the money. The only thing I’ve done with Ramon Planes is prepare for the future. We talk about young people and positions that must improve their quality. We have a plan But it is the new president who has to decide
Koeman on January sales
I don’t want to give names but I think some players need to play more games. Of course we want the best for our players. It’s true that some players won’t have many minutes here.
Koeman on Coutinho
It’s bad luck. We have several players with injuries who will be out for quite some time. For me Philippe has always been important, now he has to recover. It is a significant loss. We have to see how we can solve his loss.
Koeman on regretting Suarez exit?
No. I have always highlighted his qualities, it was a decision on his part and the club. His destiny ended up different. You can’t compare us with Atletico. I think there are other ways to win games. Sometimes, because of the way they play, it is enough to score one goal to win the games. It’s different for us.
Koeman on Barca being dependent on Messi
A little yes, but like many years ago. His game and his importance have been very great in the club. When the team did not play well, Leo was there to solve the game. That is why he is the best in the world.
Koeman on Griezmann
The issue is not just Antoine. There are many players in our forward line who need to be more effective. We need more goals from midfielders and to be more effective from set pieces. We have to improve in every way. We are the team that has created the most chances, a minimum of six per game. We have to believe.