Ronald Koeman faced the press for the final time this season ahead of Barcelona’s last fixture of what’s been another rollercoaster campaign.
The Barcelona boss spoke about Pedri and Lionel Messi missing the game against Eibar, his future at the club and also what changes are needed at the Camp Nou.
Here are the best bits
Koeman on Eibar
It’s the last game of the season, and we are going to do our best to win. It’s true that we do not have anything to play for, but it’s the last game and I would like to win it.
Koeman on his future
I don’t know if I will continue, really. I spoke with the president two weeks ago and we agreed to talk at the end of the season. We will see because I have always said that I want to continue and fulfill my contract.
Koeman on Barca’s season
With all the problems we’ve had, and no need to go through them one by one, this season has not been bad. It’s not been very good, either. For me, it’s been an OK season, knowing all the circumstances we’ve had against us.
Koeman on Messi and Pedri
There are three or four players who have put in a tremendous effort, I don’t mean the others haven’t, but Messi, Pedri and Frenkie have played the most minutes. De Jong will play the last match because of the sanction last week. Pedri won’t because of the season he’s had and his age. Hopefully he will got to the Euros which is very important for him. Leo has to play the Copa America - so physically speaking I need to protect these players. I spoke to them and we reached an agreement to not bring Pedri or Messi but Frenkie yes.
Koeman on if he’s planning for next season
I’ve done what I needed to do as a coach and that is to plan the pre-season, talk about new players, talk about players who could leave. Even today I’ve talked to Ramon Planes and Mateu Alemany about next season so that’s part of my job. Until the last day I’m here I need to do my job. I like to do it. I don’t think it’s good for the club when you have to plan pre-season from scratch without a manager, so I do it for the love of my club and for my job.
Koeman on Messi future
Hopefully Leo will continue for many more years. Again this season’s he shown he is unique. He’s scored 30 goals, everything he has given for the team has been fantastic. For me as a person and as a professional I give him a 10 out of 10. Hopefully he stays, but if not we will need to bring in new players. We will have to look for more effectiveness from the team because we will miss 30 goals. Barca with Messi has a lot more future than Barca without Messi.
Koeman on self criticism
Of course I think I’m responsible for the changes, for the young players who I’ve given chances. I’m responsible for the moments when we came up short. So yes self-criticism hurts and in this final stretch of this season even more. But I think that everything was against us, so we have to analyze everything we have done. It’s not that I think that I’m the best coach for this club. I think there are better managers, it depends on the confidence, the players, but I see myself very capable to be the manager of this club.
Koeman on what changes are needed
These changes you can’t just do them from day one in one year. We need more time to implement more changes and try to look for players who will give us more effectiveness and more strength. If you look at a squad like Atletico - it’s already a formed squad - and our squad is not yet done. We talk a lot about areas, positions we need to strengthen.
Koeman on if he regrets coming back to Barca
No, never. Today I’m very happy to be here, to be the manager of this great club. It has always been a joy to be here as a player and a coach. As a trainer I know there’s a lot of pressure and I accept that. Sometimes I think there is a lack of respect. I’m happy to be here and I want to continue but we need to talk.
Koeman on players potentially leaving
I think these discussions we need to keep behind closed doors. There’s a lot of things that have come out in the press that shouldn’t. We need to respect the players and talk to them and their managers if there are to be changes. That’s how I operate and will continue to.
Koeman on if the players are upset
It’s been a difficult week because of the criticism. The atmosphere is not the best at the moment but it’s normal. We will do everything to win the game tomorrow but for some players it’s really painful.