Ronald Koeman spoke to reporters to discuss all things Barcelona ahead of Saturday’s La Liga match against Alaves at the Camp Nou.
The Barcelona boss really didn’t want to talk about PSG and Neymar, offered an update on Ronald Araujo and also spoke about rotation amid a busy schedule.
Here are the best bits:
Koeman on Alaves
For me tomorrow’s game is more important than Tuesday’s because we focus game by game. We want to continue our good dynamic in the league and we want to win again.
Koeman on Neymar
I don’t think Neymar plays for Alaves, so that’s a question for Monday not today.
Koeman on injuries & lack of signings
We talked about signings and we needed signings but I respect the decision of the board and the club. So, in the end, we couldn’t sign, no problem, we will continue with our squad. We have had lots of injuries and we need people at the back. We have been unlucky with injuries to Pique, Araujo, Dest. We lack forcefulness defensively but we have not played many games with the same defense because of injuries.
Koeman on Pique being suspended for referee comments
It’s not my problem. If they decide to suspend Gerard, well I’m not going to give my views. Gerard is experienced and can say what he wants. But you have to be careful because with just a few words you can be punished. We can criticize but you have to be respectful.
Koeman on penalty claim against Sevilla
As I said after the game it’s a penalty. There is one image of the ref, that he says it’s a foul but it’s outside the box. It’s true there was a foul but it was inside the box. I don’t understand why VAR didn’t intervene. Everyone saw it and the ref said it was a foul.
Koeman on Dest and Pjanic and risking Araujo
Dest, Pjanic and Braithwaite they have trained a little bit, also tomorrow they will train and we’ll see if they can be in the squad list. Araujo or Pique? There’s also a margin of risk and I don’t think we have to take risks because the objective is to recover our players from now on until the end of the season. If it’s the last game of the season one can risk more. But I don’t like to assume risks for just one game. These players have to recover well, no worries, and let’s see if they can be there but we have to go game by game.
Koeman on if he prefers the Bayern’s sextuplet or Barca’s
I think Guardiola's Barca was the best. They played the best football I’ve seen in the last 25 years or so. It’s something really big what Bayern achieved, but how Guardiola’s team played was something better.
Koeman on tiredness
Of course I am worried because we need to have all the squad available. We need our players to be fresh but I think the team physically is in form. After the second half in Sevilla we have to be calm and you cannot play a second half like that one if the team is not at 100 per cent. The team are great physically but of course some players have played lots of minutes because we have lots of injuries. We have to think about giving some rest to one or two to be ready for the upcoming games.
Koeman on rotation for Alaves
Not many rotations because we don't have too many players to pick. We have another session tomorrow and we’ll decide the team, and we’ll play with a team to try and win the game, that’s the most important thing. If we win then psychologically you are not as tired as if you don’t. We want to take the three points and be ready for Tuesday.
Koeman on Araujo
Araujo is injured. If he can be available for Tuesday? We will talk to the staff but it’s important of course to know the risks for every single player and we don’t have to take a decision yet. He’s not available for tomorrow, we’ll see on Monday or Tuesday.
Koeman on defensive weaknesses
It’s true we’ve let in goals, at the same time we’ve created lots of chances, more than our rivals. We have to be more clinical and defend better. We have injured players and a few players have played lots of games. It’s important to defend and be focused on the games. I’m not worried about that. I’d be worried if we didn’t create chances.
Koeman on if there’s a big difference in the squad between starters and subs
That’s true in some positions there is a gap. But you also have to understand that we are changing the team, that we give chances to young players and the youngsters don’t have that quality, they need to grow and that’s normal. In the case of Pedri, it’s unbelievable at how fast he’s adapted to this level, other youngsters need more time, more chances, to grow physically and technically - it’s normal.