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Koeman talks Ronald Araujo, Riqui Puig and Barcelona team spirit ahead of Valencia

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The latest from the Barcelona boss

FC Barcelona v Levante UD - La Liga Santander Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman faced the press on Friday to talk about his team’s next La Liga match against Valencia at the Camp Nou.

The Dutchman discussed his former club, the differences between Ronald Araujo and Riqui Puig and the team spirit in the Barcelona dressing room.

Here are the best bits:

Koeman on Valencia

Well every game we play depends on ourselves. We have to be really focused on the match and we know that Valencia are a strong team. In the last six games they have lost just once, against Atletico, and they beat Real Madrid and drew four. We always create chances, but we must be more clinical.

Koeman on his system

We always analyse our opponents because many teams play 4-4-2. My idea is to play with midfielders who can attack and defend and have freedom. We can play in different systems depending on the players we have. There is a lot of talk about systems, but the freedom of each one is important. And lately we have more freedom. We are improving.

Koeman on team spirit

I’ve always seen a good atmosphere, despite the losses. It’s easier to have a great atmosphere when you win or play well, like against Real Socidedad, because it was a very good game to be able to pressure the opponent and we did that well.

Sometimes it’s easier if you win. So the atmosphere is good, but from day one I’ve seen a united group. But it’s easy for the press to take a picture of a difficult situation, even though they’re not in the dressing room. You have an easy job.

Koeman on how Araujo can improve

Although he’s a really young player he’s so strong. He’s a tall player and that’s important to be a defender. He has a great character and he leads the defence. He trains really well. He still has to improve with the ball, but we are talking about a really young player. He is playing a really important position and he has a great future. He wants to continue improving. He wants to learn and that’s really important.

Koeman on resting Sergino Dest

We need at least two for each position and here it is more limited because Sergi Roberto is injured. We know that Mingueza can play there and it depends on the player’s condition, talking to the doctors. We will not risk a player if he has a problem or is very tired. If not, then he can continue.

Koeman on Araujo and Puig

These two players are really different. One is more physical the other has different qualities. Yes, I like people who work every day to improve and take the opportunity with both hands to improve. Today there are other things besides individual quality. There are people who don’t do enough to make the coach think about changing things.

Koeman on Coutinho

I like Coutinho because he has quality in attack and he has learned a lot from his time in England and with Bayern Munich It’s true that in the last weeks he has had some physical problems and he hasn’t played at his top level and now he has to work.