Ronald Koeman spoke to reporters on Saturday to preview Barcelona’s next La Liga game against old rivals Real Madrid at the Camp Nou.
The Dutchman stressed the important of winning the game, offered an update on Jordi Alba, as well as talking a little bit about Ansu Fati.
Here are the best bits:
Koeman on El Clasico
It’s true we’ve won two matches. It’s always good to have these good feelings. There’s a big match ahead that we’re very excited about playing in and showing our fans what we can do. Hopefully the stadium will be full, with a great atmosphere and they can enjoy the match.
Koeman on if there’s a big difference between the two teams
I don’t think there is. I don’t think it’s useful to talk about things like this. There is a long season ahead of us after this. The game against Bayern was completely different. It’s true that we are on the right path and we know the result tomorrow is so important. We will play without fear and we are very keen to get going.
Koeman on if there’s pessimism Barca can win
I don’t know if people have that lack of confidence in us. We know exactly what we’ve got. What we can do and we want to show it. I’ve not got any fear. These are great matches to play and a chance to show what a good team we’ve got.
Koeman on Jordi Alba fitness
It’s true he had some discomfort. He’s trained well and he’s ready to play.
Koeman on Ansu vs Vinicius
We are talking abuot two young players who still have a lot to show and to prove. They are still on the right path. I’d rather talk about Ansu because he’s my player. We need to leave him in peace, let him recover. He needs to get his physical fitness back and there’s no reason to think it’s just Ansu. He’s part of the team and the team is most important. We know he’s a player who can mkae a difference, we’ve seen that already.
Koeman on who has the best squad
I don’t know. I’m the Barca coach. I think yes there is a difference in experience but we have an experienced team and we have young players too. There are some details where they are better and some where we are. I think both teams are trying to get the best performance they can from everyone and that’s why I don’t see a clear favorite in tomorrow’s match.
Koeman on getting his strikers to improve
Yes we’ve spoken about this. Everyone was in agreement that in a match like Wednesday we need to score the second goal, we need to keep calm so we can win 3-0 not 1-0.
Koeman on players being under more pressure being it’s a Clasico
No they can’t have any more pressure I don’t think. It’s true that being a Barca coach that you have to carry that and it’s no problem for me. I know the importance of a Clasico. As a player I’ve won and lost Clasicos. We need to be positive and enjoy this match. It’s the first Clasico with the fans again which is completely different. We know how important it is. We need to give the fans good feelings.
Koeman on Laporta’s backing
The president doesn’t need to say every week Koeman will continue. We’ve left things very clear. I feel supported by the president and the club but obviously everything depends on results.
Koeman on winning El Clasico
It’s important to win, especially for us. There’s a certain confidence that would come if we can win the Clasico with all the changes we are making, with the young players.
Koeman on if he’s expecting any surprises from Real Madrid?
No I think we won’t surprise them either. They won’t surprise us because I think both teams analyze the opposition well. We know Madrid are an experienced team with great players and they know how to play. For us possession of the ball is important, Madrid are a good team on the counter as well and they have hurt us in this way. When we lose the ball we need to be well organised in defense but need to find balance and personality with the ball.
Koeman on Clasico debutants Eric, Memphis & Gavi
You have to play it. There are many players who know the Clasico and can help them. You have to enjoy the great atmosphere we will have tomorrow, play with personality.
Koeman on Barca’s strengths
We’ve got a great team. We’ve got depth, mentality and I think it’s a very close match where there won’t be a lot of chances so we need to be effective in front of goal. We have players who have the quality and each needs to play their best