Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman spoke to reporters on Tuesday to preview his team’s trip to Rayo Vallecano in La Liga.
The Dutchman spoke about Wednesday’s opponents, Ansu Fati’s fitness, Ousmane Dembele’s future and the incident after El Clasico when his car was mobbed by fans.
Here are the best bits:
Koeman on Rayo
It’s a team that came up at the last moment (through the play-offs) but is having a great season. We have the memory of the Copa game last season, a difficult game, so we expect a similar match this time. If we follow the line of the last three home games, where we have done a lot well, we have a chance to win the game.
Koeman on fan incident after El Clasico
There was one supporter with an Arsenal shirt on behind the car, you saw him, no? At the end of the day, it’s a societal problem, an education problem, people without values. It wasn’t just me, it was other players and their families, too. It also happened to Carles Puyol. There was a moment I thought about getting out, but then I thought I better not. I understand people aren’t happy but you don’t expect that. There’s a lot of ‘Tik Tok’ and they want you to get involved with them.
Koeman on Barca’s injuries
We are all concerned about the injuries we have had. It could be that Pedri will be out for a bit longer. We have to be concerned about that. That’s why we don’t put a date on returns for Dembele, Pedri and Araujo. We talk about it every day. We know exactly what’s going on.
Koeman on Ousmane Dembele
The most important thing is that Ousmane stays. He’s an important player with different qualities in attack. The main objective is to renew his contract. It’s another issue if he doesn’t want to renew. We need to talk as a club about the best way to deal with that. We have still not decided what our strategy will be in the event he does not renew.
Koeman on Aguero
He has been training for two weeks. He’s not ready for 90 minutes yet, but he’s ready to start a game or play the second half. He’s ready for more game time, that’s true
Koeman on having a tough time
It depends, if the results are good or bad and the team you are in. Ancelotti encouraged me, he knows perfectly well about the situation because he has been in great teams.
Koeman on if it’s a must-win
There is always a need to win, especially after the defeat the other day. The team is able to react well.
Koeman on if he’s enjoying himself
If a day will arrive when I don’t enjoy this, I will happily step to the side and play golf, which is also a wonderful sport, five days a week. But I still want to follow this path. I like being with the players, training, analysing games, having a winning atmosphere, making decisions. I loved the Clasico the other day, not the result, but the atmosphere. I know how this works, it all depends on results, but I want to enjoy myself, whether that’s eight years, one year or three months more.
Koeman on Demir and Riqui Puig
Demir is a young player, he had minutes at the beginning. It is not easy. Riqui Puig, he has a lot of competition in the midfield and we do what’s best for the team.
Koeman on Ansu
Ansu had some pain but not related to the injury he had. He’s still a doubt for Rayo. He’s in the squad but we will make a decision on Wednesday regarding if he travels with us or not.
Koeman on Memphis
I know him well and in the last games he has not been decisive. He is aware of what is happening to him and what he needs to improve.