Ronald Koeman spoke to reporters on Friday in what was a pretty interesting press conference from the Barcelona boss ahead of the trip to San Mames.
The Dutchman spoke about the futures of several players, offered his thoughts on the Ilaix Moriba contract saga, and also shared some fitness updates.
Here are the best bits:
Koeman on Braithwaite
We know the situation of the club. If there is an interest in a player, we will listen but Martin is doing very well for us. He plays in different positions at the top. He showed the other day that he is important for the team. I love working with him. He is very disciplined. He accepts his role of not always playing. For me, I think he should stay.
Koeman on Pedri
It’s true that we’ve got some time to think about what’s best for Pedri. He will play tomorrow and then he’ll have two weeks of holiday so he doesn’t go into November and December with physical problems. I spoke with Luis Enrique and they have their decisions I can’t talk about. We’ve given him two weeks of holiday because that’s what Pedri needs. After all the matches he played, the two tournaments, he needs at least two weeks rest.
Koeman on Messi’s No. 10
The number is something to do with the club. These are decisions the club makes, it’s not up to the coach so my opinion is not that important.
Koeman on Mbappe’s future
I’m here in Barca, it doesn’t interest me really. He’s a great player and he has to choose. If he choses to go or stay that’s not my problem.
Koeman on Pjanic & Umtiti
We know we’ve not got too many players. Players like Umtiti and Pjanic it’s really complicated for them to have minutes.
Koeman on Coutinho
Philippe is out because I think he needs another week of training with the group before he can be called up. Yes I choose to go with him because he’s a great player. He’s a player who could be important for Barca. He did play at the start of the season but he had injuries. Yes I am counting on him this season.
Koeman on Pique & Ter Stegen fitness
These rumors, this alarm about Pique yesterday was a bit surprising. He had a couple of niggles in training but it wasn’t really anything. He’s available to play tomorrow without any problems. And Ter Stegen, aside from training with the group today, he’s recovered well but he needs to train more and we’ll look at when he’s ready to play.
Koeman on Ilaix Moriba
I spoke with him two or three weeks ago, more as a person than as a Barça coach. For me his situation is horrible. He’s a young player, 18 years old, he had the chance to play in the first team last season, he’s the future of the club. He’s in a situation where he’s not playing, he’s not with us. I know what the club wants to offer this player. My advice to any player is that the money is not the most important thing. The most important thing is to play matches. That’s my message to him. The player and his people have decided differently and I’m disappointed about this. I believe more in football things than in contracts. At 18 years old, money is not so important.
Koeman on if Barca will sell a goalkeeper
At the moment I would say no. I understand the situation with Inaki. I think also for him it’s important that he plays but I think we need three goalkeepers. I’m not going to risk having just two. I want three at the top level so we don’t risk having any problems.
Koeman on Nico
I always count on the young players like Nico, Gavi, Demir, Balde, and they will continue training with us. They need to play matches if they don’t play with the first team. I see a lot of future in these young players. If there are options or possibilities, we will give them those chances because they are the future. I’m very happy to have so many young players training with the first team. I think that’s important for us.
Koeman on Pedri Part 2
Pedri won’t play against Getafe, the match is in his two weeks of holiday, he needs to continue as an important player for us because he’s very effective. He can play in various positions in midfield and on the left wing. We need players like him because we’ve lost Messi and we need to find goals from other players.
Koeman on Lenglet
I’m very happy having 5 or 6 center-backs because it’s an important position where there is a lot of competition and we need those center-backs. Lenglet is our only left footer so he has a place. It will all depend on the level of the team which depends on the matches. This week there’s just one match per week but after the international break it’s every three days so we need all the players.
Koeman on Athletic
We’ve got a lot of experience playing against them. Last season we played four times. With the ball we need to be working really well, we need to work positioning really well and be really quick. We need to avoid the physical game, where we don’t have the strengths they do. It’ll be a good match because they don’t give you any peace, they come and pressure you.