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Koeman: “I hope there is a full stadium with a great atmosphere and that our people enjoy”

Ronald Koeman at the press conference / Lluis Gene / AFP via Getty Images

FC Barcelona face arch rivals Real Madrid in the first ‘El Clásico’ of the season at the Camp Nou on Sunday. Ronald Koeman talked to the press prior to the match, where he talked about the Clásico, the fans, Alba’s fitness and much more.

Here’s what Ronald Koeman had to say:

On what it would mean to win

“It is true that we have two victories and we come with good feelings. There is a lot of enthusiasm to play and show that we want to win to our fans, I hope there is a full stadium with a great atmosphere and that our people enjoy.”

On the distance between the two teams

“It is one of the most important games and there is still a long season ahead. The game against Bayern was different but it is true that we can show that we are on the right track and the result is very important. We have to play without fear, show that we can win and show that desire from the start.”

On the match up against Real and playing too many games

“We both play a lot of games. Many things can happen. It is not a decisive game but if we win we get ahead.”

On if he detects pessimism in the fans

“I do not know if people have this mistrust. We do not. We know what we can do and we want to show it. For a Clásico there is no clear favorite. We play at home, we have our people. I do not have this fear. We want to demonstrate once again that we have a good team.”

On Alba and his fitness

“It is true that he had some discomfort, but he has trained normally and is ready to play.”

On Ansu and his duel with Vinicius

“They are players who are showing a lot of quality. They are on the right track. Ansu must be left alone so that he can recover and have the physicality and rhythm that each player needs and we must not think about just Ansu, but the whole team.”

On the renewals of Pedri and Ansu, two wins in a row and the chance of overcoming Real Madrid

“All this is true, but first you have to win. A result in a Clásico makes a lot of difference between being in the good or the bad.”

On who has the best squad

“I don’t know. I’m a Barça coach. There is a difference in experience, but we also have it with other players. They have young players like us and we are more or less the same. There are details in which they can be better and others in which we are better. We both try to get the most out of everyone and that’s why I don’t see a clear favorite.”

On lack of effectiveness against Dynamo

“I have spoken with the team about this issue. The other day, it would have been different to go 3-0 than 1-0.”

On the pressure of a Clásico

“I can’t have more pressure now. Being a Barça coach, I have to take this and I know the importance of this. I have lost and won Clásicos as a player and you have to see the positive side and enjoy. It is my first Clásico as a coach with an audience. And this is different. You have to be hopeful to win the game.”

On having Laporta’s confidence

“No jokes, it goes without saying to the president every day that I continue. I feel supported but I already know that everything depends on the results.”

On if this win could give them a boost in the league

“It is important to win and it would give us a lot of confidence with all the changes we make and the young players who are entering. By ourselves, all the players work to win and improve things on the field with or without the ball. I don’t feel like it’s an exam but it is a Clásico that we want to win and we have to prove it.”

On if winning the Clásico would reinforce his image

“It does not depend on a single game. It is true that we had an important week at home and we have to be prepared.”

On the tactical approach, importance of physicality and changes in Madrid

“Neither of us can surprise. Madrid is an experienced team that knows how to take the game and we prioritize the possession of the ball. They play well on the counter. In several games they have hurt us in this sense. You have to have defensive organization when you lose the ball. You have to seek balance and have personality with the ball.”

On having debutants in a Clásico like Eric, Gavi and Memphis

“You have to play it. There are enough players who have played a Clásico for many years and can help us. We have to enjoy tomorrow’s great atmosphere and play with personality to do the job that we want to do.”

On Barca’s strengths going into the match

“We have a block with good ball position and we have to have depth and effectiveness. Surely both teams will not create many opportunities and we have to be effective. We have quality players and each one has to do their best to win.”