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Sergi Barjuan talks Ansu Fati, Ousmane Dembele and Riqui Puig ahead of Alaves

The latest from Barcelona’s interim coach


Barcelona’s interim coach Sergi Barjuan took part in the club’s pre-match press conference on Friday to talk about the game against Alaves.

Barjuan was joined by president Joan Laporta, who spoke about Ronald Koeman’s departure, but the coach was asked some questions about the team.

The new interim boss spoke about the early training sessions, offered some updates on Ansu and Ousmane Dembele and was also asked about Riqui Puig.

Here are the best bits:

Barjuan introduces himself

I would like to thank the president for his confidence and also thank Ronald Koeman, having worked side by side with him for the past months, we all know results dictate our future. It’s a difficult situation we work in to try and implement all the criteria that will bring us success tomorrow.

It’s easier to work with these players, there’s a lot of talent. What we did today I was happy with, the players understand the concept, I saw them very engaged. Right now all of us need to be together, united, and play this game as intensely as possible. That’s most important. The way we play won’t change that much, the players are the same, but we adjusted a few tactical aspects.

Barjuan on his approach

I think what I saw was to really return the joy and happiness of the players, to play with a smile on their face. They have already demonstrated what they are as players, they know how to compete, are used to the pressure. Tomorrow they know they need to try and win the game. The league is still up for grabs. We need to pick up three points, especially playing at home.

Barjuan on his objectives

My objective is to win, to have this team winning their games. I’m going to try and reverse the situation and I’m going to try to add my grain of salt to change the dynamics of this team and the situation. If we see things are going well, then good, but if we need to take different decisions then we will do that.

Barjuan on Alaves

It’s difficult. Not even 24 hours have passed, so it’s a stressful situation. We need to look at videos, my assistant coaches help me a lot. We try to look at how we are going to hurt our opponent in every game. We understand their system. They have interesting players, maybe not the fastest team. We are going to try to keep the ball, what we trained today, to try and hurt our opponents in many ways. So hopefully our patience and verticality will hep us win

Barjuan on how the team is

I think quite well. In the game we will try to dominate the ball. We have to take things step by step. A lot of things have happened in a short time. The style of play is non-negotiable and that’s evident. We have to have more presence and dominate the ball more. We are also going to look for defensive solutions and in the end make sure the ball goes in the back of the net.

Barjuan on Riqui Puig

In the end all the players that are available have a chance to play. I can’t base my decision on one training session. I have to see what the best options are for tomorrow’s game.

Barjuan on Dembele and Ansu Fati

Dembele is available so he could be called up. Ansu wasn’t in training so it’s impossible for tomorrow’s game. That’s the situation. If you train you have a chance to play but if you don’t you can’t.

Barjuan on calling up Abde and Alvaro Sanz

It’s true they may have chances. There are a lot of injury problems and we need to try and balance the team out, given the absences. These two players can perhaps give the team something and we’ll see.

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