The Barca boss explained his decision to rest Lionel Messi and Frenkie de Jong, spoke about Gerard Pique’s injury and offered updates on Samuel Umtiti and Ronald Araujo.
Here are the best bits:
Koeman on Messi and De Jong
We have various players out through injury and we decided not to take Leo or Frenkie because the situation [in the group] is quite comfortable for us. These two players need to rest because they have played a lot of matches, so we think this is a good moment to rest them.
The calendar of games is incredible. We play on Saturday, we play late, we travel, we come back early in the morning on Wednesday. It’s impossible to keep the players fit. For example the reason Sergi Roberto is is because of the many games he’s had to play.
Everyone knows it, but we have to continue playing a large number of games. It’s time for UEFA and FIFA to think about what we are doing with the players because it’s crazy.
Koeman on Dynamo Kiev
Despite their absentees, the game at the Camp Nou was really tough. We’ll need to be better in order to win the game; if we aren’t at our best they’ll make life difficult for us. Football is a results business and in this sense we can’t be happy, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have ambition. Tomorrow is another game and we’re on the verge of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League and we need to take advantage of that
Koeman on Umtiti
He’s a defender who’s been injured for quite a while. Our plan for him is to get him in condition to play. He’s training well almost entirely with the group. We hope in two weeks we will be able to count on him. But he’s had a lot of time without playing. The last time he played was in June so he’s been out now for a good 5-6 months.
Koeman on Pique
It’s an important injury and he’ll out be for a while. He has a huge personality and it is a significant loss. It is sad for the team and for the club. It is difficult, but we have to accept and see how we solve this issue.
Koeman on Araujo and Mingueza
It’s a possibility that Mingueza will play as a starter. [Araujo] is training on his own right now. We don’t want to take any chances. We want to give him time to come back.
Koeman on Matheus Fernandes
When everyone is physically fit there’s a lot of competition in this line up, especially in midfield. He’s there because there are injuries, people are out, but he’s training well.