Ronald Koeman faced the press on Saturday ahead of Barcelona’s clash against Sevilla in La Liga and was in pretty good spirits.
The Barcelona boss said his team are feeling confident ahead of the match after starting the season with two good wins over Villarreal and Celta Vigo.
He also spoke about new signing Sergino Dest, Philippe Coutinho and Lionel Messi’s form and rumors about Eric Garcia and Ousmane Dembele.
Here’s the best bits:
Koeman Eric Garcia
It’s true we would like to have that player here because we have 3-4 defenders which is a bit tight. I’ve seen Pep’s comments and that’s what it is. I hope we can do it. The economic side of the club is something we know is complicated and that’s all I can say. There is plenty of interest but I don’t know if we will be able to sign him.
Koeman on Dembele
I always try to get the best out of team and if there’s changes there’s a reason behind that. If Pedri, for example, came on it’s because he deserves it, because of the work he’s show in training. Trincao and Pedri deserved to be on the pitch. Dembele is another player who has greater depth but we needed great defensive help the other day. Dembele is a Barca player, [his future] depends on the thoughts of the player. I’ve not spoken with him directly. We’ll see.
Koeman on Dembele’s future
First we have to say there’s a lot of quality players up front and in his position, he can play on the left or the right. Ansu’s there, Konrad’s there, Trincao, Griezmann, there’s a lot of players. It’s a tightly contested position in the team. This is where Ansu has played from the start and he’s in front of Dembele. The only thing I can try and say is that if the player is unhappy then he speaks with me.
I want people here who are happy. They can be annoyed because they don’t play, that’s fine, that’s something that’s between us. If he does not want to be here he should tell me and he’s said nothing to me. If there’s nothing today I will count on Ousmane and I will have him as an option to play.
Koeman on Sergino Dest
I don’t know if we can call on him. We’re trying to look at the paperwork. I’ll give the final call up and I hope he’s there but if not he’ll have to wait. He’s a really good player. He has this image that we want to give: changing things, having young players, focusing on the future of the club. He’s not even 20, he’s played a lot of matches at a top tier club, he’s very competent, very confident on the right and the left. And we’re going to put him to good use, not just defensively but also in the offence because he has great quality.
I see him as a starter but there is competition. Roberto is doing well in the team. We are winning, and the players who come in have to provide competition. For sure he’s a player for the future but it’s not that he won’t play today. He has the quality. If he needs to play tomorrow I’m not afraid about that.
Koeman on Coutinho’s form
He’s a really good player. What’s more he’s a player who learned a lot in England, a great deal at Bayern in terms of work. My job as a coach is to get the best out of each player. And that starts with putting the player in the position they play best. I think that gives them greater confidence. You can only start with the quality the player has and Coutinho is a great player
Koeman on Champions League draw
I think we can be happy. Not super confident because we have to go in fighting to win matches, taking on a team like Juventus, who are stronger than the other two opponents. We have a tight calendar in terms of these matches because we have internationals next week as well. We have to prepare as best we can. But ultimately I think we can be happy.
Koeman on Leo Messi
From day one Leo has trained really well, he’s played well. He’s given the maximum for the club, for the team, for his team-mates. Against Celta as captain he took on the weight to help the team, the defenders and it’s important to have a forward who can keep hold of the ball when you’re a player down. I think there can be no argument about his quality. He’s always been the best player in the world and now the feeling I get from him is that he gives 100 per cent every day. He’s deserves to be captain of this team.
Koeman on the transfer window
There are two positions in the team where it would be good to get an extra player. Center-back and the No. 9. We have competition now up front and we can change players but we have a lot of games to play. These are the two positions where it would be useful to have an extra player.