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Koeman talks Antoine Griezmann, Jordi Alba and Barcelona youngsters ahead of El Clasico

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The latest from the Barcelona boss

RC Celta v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander Photo by Jose Manuel Alvarez/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman faced the press on Friday to talk all things El Clasico ahead of Saturday’s eagerly-anticipated clash with Real Madrid.

The Dutch coach was asked about whether Antoine Griezmann and fit-again Jordi Alba would play, Gerard Pique’s interview and Real Madrid’s recent poor run of results.

Here are the best bits:

Koeman on Griezmann

He has options to play. He is an important player and we want all the players to be at the best level. The team is the most important thing. We choose the players to get the best result.

Koeman on Real Madrid

It may be that Madrid in the last two days have not had good results, but that does not mean that they have low morale. They have very experienced people and they know that they must win the game after the last two defeats.

Koeman on Pique’s interview

Gerard has been here for many years, I’ve only been here 2-3 months. He has his opinion and I respect it. He’s also a smart player who knows that if he does an interview like this, that he wil play the game tomorrow and that he will do well.

Koeman on Ansu and Vinicius

These are two very young players, very good players who are learning a lot of things. Their career trajectory has been very fast and they’ve shown not just in training but in matches they deserve to be where they are. Age is not important for me, it’s how they play that’s important.

Koeman on El Clasico It is important. If you win you can show confidence. The players deserve it for the work they are doing every day. They show a lot of ambition. It is an even game. In both teams there is a lot of quality and experience. These games are decided by small details, when you have the ball or how you put pressure on the opposite.

Koeman on playing youngsters

The most important thing is the performance of each player. I see no problem with having young people. To have experience they have to play games. I only think of the best team for tomorrow, it does not depend on the age of a player.

Koeman on Jordi Alba

The players always gets the last word on this because he knows if he’s in the right condition to play or not. I’ll also talk to the medical staff. We need to look at the reaction after training this morning. I see everything pretty positive but there is still time to wait and see if he’s feeling good or not. If he is then he has a good chance to play tomorrow.

Koeman on rejuvenating the squad

We try to change things and the most important thing is the quality of the players. It is good that we have changed the team a bit, with young players. Ansu Fati is already playing in the national team and he will be a star, but he has to work hard. We are going to help him to be one of the best in the world, just like with the rest of the youth.