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Ronald Koeman talks Messi, Ronaldo and Dembele ahead of Juventus UCL clash

The latest from the Barcelona boss

Barcelona Press Conference Photo by Daniele Badolato - Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images

Ronald Koeman spoke at length about Barcelona ahead of the team’s final Champions League group game at home to Juventus on Tuesday.

The Dutch coach made it clear how angry he was after defeat to Cadiz, offered an update on Ousmane Dembele’s injury and discussed Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Here are the best bits:

Koeman on the UCL

Our objective is to win and play well. In terms of the UCL we can finish first in our group. We have an advantage of three points. We were able to win 2-0 in Turin so we have a lot of possibilities to finish first.

Koeman on Dembele injury

It’s a big shame to lose another player to injury. He felt something in the second half but he thought it was nothing and continued playing. It is a pity, he’ll be out for a little while. It’s a step backwards, he was doing well and we know his past with injuries so now he needs to recover and come back well.

That’s also why I complain about the scheduling. I think we are going to lose more players to injury. I don’t understand the schedules of our matches. We always play at 9pm. If you have to play Tuesday night, you have to think about the time of the match before for the good of the players of the Spanish teams. We got home at 4.30 in the morning and then they play two days later. I say this to defend my players.

Koeman on Barca’s La Liga position.

This is something to be unhappy about. We have to analyze the losses, how they hurt us. I think I’m someone who doesn’t put on a show, so if we lose I’m upset and that’s what I told the players yesterday before training. I think being at Barcelona we can’t accept the goals that we have conceded in various matches.

Koeman on rotation

We are missing important players like Ansu, Dembele, two players who can play in the wing and have the speed. We need to find the best thing for the team in terms of the tactics but also in terms of who’s fresh and how ready they are. We need to put together a strong team because we want to finish top of the group

Koeman on Messi form

I think our attack is still very dependent on Messi. He’s very important, a lot of plays come from Leo’s feet. I’m in agreement with him that sometimes it’s easier to blame Messi, but I don’t think he has made mistakes in defense. I think it’s something to do with the whole team. We need to improve and be more aggressive in defense.

Koeman on Messi and Ronaldo

I think it’s fantastic these two players have been at the top for so long. The best players in the last 10-15 years, that’s incredible. I think it’s a great compliment to both players. They are different, but they have incredible stats about scoring goals, about scoring hat-tricks, about winning prizes. I think it’s not nice to say who is better, both are incredible. I admire both players because they have given us so many nice matches with great goals. Let’s hope we can enjoy them both tomorrow night.

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