Ronald Koeman spoke to reporters on Tuesday to discuss Barcelona’s next match against Elche in La Liga at the Camp Nou.
The Barcelona boss talked about defenders Clement Lenglet and Ronald Araujo, his team dropping points and Wednesday’s opponents.
Here are the best bits:
Koeman on Elche
Tomorrow we expect Elche to have a lot of confidence. They are fighting relegation and it’s a complicated match. They just beat Eibar. We don’t know if Elche will play as deep as Cadiz but Cadiz got the result they were looking for. It depends on ourselves, our play with the ball, we must defend well and take advantage of crucial moments.
Koeman on Barca dropping points
We always have to analyze the physical state of the team and each player, the confidence. We know that we’ve dropped important points due to individual errors. I don’t think it’s fair to go after one player or one defender because we also had chances to kill off the games.
Koeman on Lenglet
I spoke to him this morning. Of course, he’s a very serious player, he’s a professional, who has taken this very personally. Like I said before, it’s not down to one player that we’re dropping points. He could have done better and yes, there have been moments where we’ve made mistakes because of other players, but in attack we made mistakes and could have scored more goals.
Koeman on Haaland and Mbappe
I don’t think this is the time to talk about other players. We are playing important games, we are talking about the future of the club, the future for a new president. I think we need to focus on us because the matches that are coming up are decisive. So let’s focus on that, it’s more important.
Koeman on Toni Freixa’s claims of big investment
I don’t know if it’s all true. Until I get to talk to the new president I can’t make any decisions. I read a lot in the press but we’re going to have to wait for the new president and he will have to determine the club’s future and the possibility to sign players. We’ll wait until March 8.
Koeman on the next two weeks
Being a Barca player you have to win everything. It’s a time of the season where everything is on the line. We need to find the same energy we had recently, we dropped important points at home, but in the last 13 matches we’ve won 10 and drawn three. I’m very disappointed to drop points but we need to continue down this road. If we continue to make mistakes the opportunities will become less and less.
Koeman on Barca’s priorities
I think we are still in the league fight. We are seeing that each team can drop points, each team is having difficulties. So it depends on the two games up ahead now which are very important for us to continue our title fight. We need to come back in the cup too but I’m really not a big fan of thinking that one game is more important than the other. Each match is vital. It’s complicated we have to comeback against Sevilla at home without fans, with fans it’s easier to make a comeback.
Koeman on Araujo
He’s getting better. He won’t be with us tomorrow because he hasn’t trained with us yet. He’s training by himself right now with our physios but first, he has to train with the group to see if he’s 100 percent or not. Right now there are some doubts, so we have to wait. We wait for the weekend, maybe next Wednesday. I don’t think it’s good to have an exact date.
Koeman on rotation
I think that we give a lot of opportunities to the younger players. I always try to give time to the young players but right now at this moment of the season, I think we need experienced players along with the young players already in the team. We have 18 and 19-year-olds playing with us. We need to give experience to this team and, seeing as the calendar is so condensed, we need to find the right team that has the energy and freshness. There are players who have played a lot and are perhaps a bit tired. We’ll have to decide the best team for tomorrow.
Koeman on if Lenglet will start
These are always decisions that we have to make. A player needs to be convinced, needs to show a lot of self-confidence, a lot depends on the physical and mental state of each player, not just Lenglet. We need to find the best solution for tomorrow’s game.
Koeman on Barca’s mood
Right now the mood has dipped, I think that’s normal. The good thing about our sport is that we have a game every three days. If we win tomorrow we’ll be second and things will be very different.
Koeman on why Barca can’t score more
The problem isn’t that we are not creating chances. I think it would be worse if we didn’t create chances. I’m asking for more efficiency from the players up top.
Koeman on if Griezmann & Dembele should score more
We need to analyze that. We need to analyze the chances they’ve had. Last month Antoine was very efficient, before that a bit less. Ousmane had two big chances the other day, where you just have to score at least one. That’s where we are missing more efficiency from these types of players.
Koeman on his mood
After the Cadiz result I was down because I feel responsible and I was thinking how we need to improve. So yes it affects me. But I tell my players in the training sessions that we can still do it. Not every team will win every match. I want our players to know that our next matches are still important. As long as there is hope then we have to go for everything.
Koeman on if he protects his players too much
I do that [criticize] behind closed doors. My job is to analyze and let my players know what mistakes have been made. I have meetings with players and I tell them things very directly. What I don’t like to do is criticize them through the press.
Koeman on Barca’s leaders on the pitch
I think there are leaders and captains. At the back Pique, Sergi Roberto’s not there right now, but Jordi is experienced. And then there’s Busquets and Messi. These guys need to lead the way. they have quality, a lot of personality and have won a lot. They need to demonstrate to the younger players where we’re going.