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Ronald Koeman talks formation, Gerard Piqué and his future ahead of Copa del Rey Final

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The boss spoke to the press in Seville

FC Barcelona Training Session Photo by Mateo Villalba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman spoke to the press in Seville ahead of Saturday’s Copa del Rey Final against Athletic Bilbao.

The Dutchman spoke about Gerard Piqué’s fitness, his tactical plan to face a familiar opponent and his future at the club.

Here are the best bits:

Koeman on the final and playing Athletic again

We are two teams who suffered a lot to get to this final. Athletic is a very competitive team and it will be the fourth time we face off this year. They beat us in extra time in the Supercup and we won the two league games. We have to be good with and without the ball, and in the last two games we haven’t been good without the ball.

There are no secrets when you face the same opponent three times in a short period of time, we know the players and the systems, they are fighters and strong on set pieces. We have to be better positioned when we lose the ball than we were last week against Madrid.

Koeman on Piqué

Piqué can play tomorrow, yes, he’s had more training sessions compared to last week before the match against Madrid.

Koeman on formation and tactical plan

The plan is always the same, with a back three or a back four. We always want to dominate the match and create opportunities. And when we lose the ball, we have to be in the right positions. The system isn’t important, it is the energy and defending well that matters.

There is no need to motivate the players before a final, they know what they have to do, but you need to put in a lot of energy. In the last two games we have had little energy without the ball, maybe because of the international matches, but there is no excuse.

Koeman on Athletic’s set pieces

Set pieces are a strength for them, they are strong in that aspect, so we cannot concede useless fouls in dangerous zones. We have to learn from the experience of playing against them.

Koeman on Messi

I don’t see an especially motivated Messi because he always tries to give his all and I already see every day that he’s a great professional who wants to get better.

Koeman on his future and support from Joan Laporta

Laporta has demonstrated his trust in me. There is no need for the president to show his trust every time there is something in the press about my future. I know the club I am in and the financial difficulties, it is a final and you have to win. The rest doesn’t matter.

To be questioned about your future for losing one game after going 19 unbeaten shows the pressure that exists in this club. It is rare to have to answer these questions. I know what can happen if I win and what can happen if I lose, but it is strange to always have to answer these questions.