In the showdown of 3rd versus 4th, Barça put on a masterfully controlled display away at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán to defeat Sevilla 2-0, courtesy of goals from Messi and Dembélé. Koeman and Piqué spoke to the press after the game.
Koeman tried out a new system today, with three central defenders, and Ousmane Dembélé as central forward in front of Leo Messi. The system reaped its rewards, as Barça completely neutralized every Sevilla threat. This was highlighted by Koeman in his post-match comments.
Here is what Ronald Koeman had to say in full:
On the change in tactics today
We changed the system, above all, to try to pressure Sevilla well. We did not leave Sevilla alone with the ball and we took advantage of Dembélé’s speed. The first goal was a demonstration of what we wanted. The key was to not let Sevilla play, to be aggressive. It was a very complete game.
On what this win will mean for Wednesday’s Copa del Rey second leg versus Sevilla
We believe in coming back in the tie, but on Wednesday it will be another game. But the first thing is to show and have ambition. We have to have a complete game. Only then will we have possibilities.
On if putting on Braithwaite and not Griezmann is a message for the latter
It is not a message. The point is that we have decided to change the system and put Dembélé on top. We needed someone faster than Leo upfront. It was a system change.
On if these games versus Sevilla are the most important in the season
Every game, like today, is important. Barça has to win and to be at the top. Wednesday is another competition. We have to try to stay alive in all competitions.
On the Pedri and Araujo injuries
We have to wait. We made changes and the team continued. This team does not depend on one player or two players.
On the cleansheet
It is important because we always score goals and create chances. The attitude in defense has been very important.
On Ilaix’s impact off the bench
Like the others who came on, he has been important in the last stretch of the game. He was good with the ball and has contributed a lot in the last part of the game. He is a very young player.
That concludes what Ronald Koeman had to say.
Gerard Piqué, who had a solid defensive performance until he was taken off, also spoke after the game. Here is what he had to say in full:
On how his knee is
There are little things. I talked to the coach about increasing the load little by little, I had not played for three months and we had agreed on the timing a bit. But I am very happy. I am very proud of the team.
On the feelings the team have after the win
We have to value it. The last times I have had to speak, it has been in painful moments. I am very proud of the team. We came from hard blows and the team has risen. The team has shown that it is still alive, that there is talent. And that we are going to raise a battle on Wednesday.
On if Barça have a chance to win LaLiga
Of course. Much worse has been seen before. And despite the two games that for certain circumstances did not measure up, it can be trusted. We pushed them up, we played in their half. Sevilla did not shoot on goal. But there is confidence and I have a lot of faith in the team.
On the volume of injuries Barça are experiencing
Everything is in the head. During my time at Barça, which has been 14 years, we have had moments of these in which injuries appear, but if we all go together it does not matter who plays. It’s having the team spirit. If we turn the tie against Sevilla on Wednesday, the season changes. You have to look for that life and hope in a team like Barça.