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Ronald Koeman talks Champions League, Messi, Ansu and Pedri ahead of Ferencvaros

The latest from the Barcelona boss

FC Barcelona v Gimnastic de Tarragona - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Ronald Koeman faced the press on Monday ahead of a busy week for Barcelona both at home and in the Champions League.

The Catalan giants kick off their European campaign on Tuesday against Ferencvaros and then host Real Madrid in La Liga on Saturday.

Koeman spoke about the two upcoming games, his team’s Champions League hopes and also about some of his attackers.

Here are the best bits:

Koeman on Barca’s big week

It’s an important week but it’s no more important than any other. We want to start the UCL on the right foot in the first match and be relaxed. The most important thing in our mind is to prepare for a difficult match at home, well we have two matches at home.

Koeman on Messi

Seeing him on a daily basis. I’ve seen that he’s happy, he’s training well, he’s focused, he wants to play and he wants to be the captain of the team. I haven’t got any complaints. He’s a great player and normally he puts it between the posts. The last matches have been complicated, so I have no doubts about his performance. Let’s see how he does. We’ve got two complicated matches and we’ll see how he gets on.

Koeman on Dembele

He’s training and doing well. He did lose possession a lot against Getafe, but it’s the way he plays. He played better in the second half, and he’s working hard to get minutes

Koeman on Barca’s UCL hopes

It’s always important to win your first group stage game, especially at home. It’s a tough match because nowadays there’s no such thing as an easy opponent. When you’re at Barcelona, you need to be in the mix to win trophies, be it in the Liga or in Europe. We aren’t the absolute favourites for this one, but we can go a long way.

Koeman on team selection

We know that it won’t be an easy game. We’ll put out a strong XI, and we aren’t thinking about Saturday’s game right now. The important game for us is tomorrow.

Koeman on lack of goals recently

We’ve played four games and scored eight goals, I don’t know if there is a team with a better record. I’m not worried about the goals, we have enough quality. The last two games we’ve also played with teams that defend very well.

Koeman on Griezmann

He is working well, of course we can have more performance at the top and he can give more. The only thing players can do is work hard to improve this situation.

Koeman on Ansu and Pedri

Ansu and Pedri are ready to be starters. It doesn’t depend on age, it depends on performance. I am very happy for them, they are young and they will have ups and downs in which we will have to help, they are both doing very well.

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