Ronald Koeman faced reporters on Monday to talk all things Barcelona ahead of the big Champions League group stage opener against Bayern Munich at the Camp Nou.
The Barcelona boss talked about his team’s chances in Europe, his relationship with president Joan Laporta and the fitness of Philippe Coutinho and Luuk de Jong.
Here are the best bits:
Koeman on Bayern
We know how good Bayern are. They have very experienced and quality players and it’s going to be very tough. We want to compete in the Champions League and we play at home. We are going to try and get the best result possible.
Koeman on if it’s ‘too soon’ to face Bayern
We are all very aware of the changes we are going through. We need time but there is no time in football these days. I think it’ll be a very interesting game.
Koeman on Laporta
We are good. We talk when we’ve got something to say and we both want the best for the club. He comes to the training sessions quite often and we talk a lot. No complaints about that. There are some minor things but we are great.
Koeman on his interview to NOS
The only thing I have said is that I am a coach who gives minutes to young players. You never know if another coach will give as many opportunities as we do. I always want the best for the club. We are getting better. One of the good things is that I give minutes to young players.
Koeman on his contract extension
I don’t want to talk about that. I’m not going to talk about my contract. There are no conditions. We all know what Barca means. We all know we are changing things in the team. Other things, my future, is not important. The club is all that matters. Tomorrow we have a big chance to make a statement and that’s more important that my future.
Koeman on if Barca can win the UCL
I can’t answer that. Tomorrow is Matchday 1 in the Champions League and we are changing things. When the game finishes we’ll see. It’s very difficult for me to answer your question.
Koeman on how players are after 2 weeks without a game
We are very fit. We are 100 per cent fit. No problems at all. The players have been training and during the international break we have the time to give some rest to the players. They are ready.
Koeman on the 8-2
That was a year ago. Of course they were hurt in that defeat, you can’t forget that, we can’t change it. But we are going to prepare the best we can for the game and make sure there’s a lot of intensity in the 90 mins. We can win of course. We have good players and we need to use our style to hurt the opposition.
Koeman on using three center-backs
People talk about center-backs but that’s not the key, the system is more important. If you lose balls at the back, they will do us a lot of damage. Bayern are physically very good. It’s very important for us to keep hold of the ball and find the spaces where we can punish them.
Koeman on Coutinho and Luuk de Jong
Coutinho has been out for a long time but is improving. He needs playing time, it’s important for him. Luuk is different, he’s just arrived, hasn’t played any minutes with us and he needs some time and games to reach his best level.