In their third showdown in January, Barça came out 2-1 winners against Athletic Club in matchday 20 of LaLiga. Ronald Koeman, Antoine Griezmann, and Sergi Roberto spoke to the press after the hard-fought victory in the Camp Nou.
Here is what Ronald Koeman had to say:
On if he is satisfied with the win
Yes. It boosted our confidence, with a great first half, where we should have gone to halftime with one more goal and not with such a close result. We pressed very well and we were very good with our positional game. The second half was something else, especially in the aerial duels. We knew how to react to their goal. We already know that Athletic always puts a lot of danger with crosses and from set plays, but this time we have shown that we know how to suffer (cope). We knew how to defend the result and we were deserving of the victory.
On the importance of the victory
It is important to be second. We always want to be at the top of the table. It has been a very complicated month, with many games and trips, in three competitions. We have improved in concentration and we have managed to carry it out.
On if he has talked with Messi about the contract leak
It was done with very bad intentions. Hurting a player who has done something very great for Spanish football and for Barcelona. He is a born winner. He knows how to overcome all circumstances. I had no doubt that it was not going to affect him.
On if he thinks the leak will affect Leo
I don’t know. You have to try to know how this has come out in the press. There are things that come out, that cannot come out. There are people who are interested in hurting Messi and Barça.
On if he thinks Messi is responsible for the ruin of Barcelona
I do not get it. You have to look at what Messi has done at this club. He has been proving everything for years and helping this club to make it big and win important titles. This is the important thing, the rest is nonsense.
On if he thinks this is a leak from within the club
If it is someone within the club it is something very bad. Whoever has leaked this cannot have a future in this club.
On Dembélé’s performance
He is an important player because of his speed and depth. He helps us in his game to look for Pedri and Messi between the lines.
Here is what Antoine Griezmann, who scored the winner, had to say:
On if LaLiga is still a possibility
There are many games left. We have to continue doing our thing and win what we have left.
On his assessment of the game
Athletic is a team that presses very well, very well worked by this coach. With the wind it was a little more difficult. It was difficult for us in the second half to come out with the ball from behind. We are happy that we left with the three points.
On his goal celebration with the substitutes
We are a team. We are all part of this group. We need everyone, whether they play or not. That is why I have gone to celebrate it with the substitutes. We have a great team to achieve important things.
He is very well and he is taking very good care of himself.
We are enjoying Messi. He is a legend. Hopefully we can enjoy him much longer.
On the feelings within the dressing room
We are winning the games of 2021. We are on the right track.
On how he feels regarding the important goals he is scoring
I’m fine, enjoying it, but I know I have to give a little more.
Here is what Sergi Roberto had to say after returning from a two-month injury:
On his return
I had not played for two months and I am very happy. From home it was hard and long. We hit a streak of many games away from home. It was hard to watch it on TV. Luckily I’m back.
On what this win means
It is very important to continue with this good streak and put pressure on Atlético, who are at a time when everything works for them. If you put pressure on them, in the end it will be long.