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Koeman: I wish to continue at Barca for many more years.

Ronald Koeman’s presentation as FC Barcelona’s head coach on the 19th of August, 2020 (Photo by Josep LAGO / AFP) (Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images)

During the international break, Ronald Koeman gave an exclusive interview to Sport. Where he talked about Laporta, his desire to continue, and much more. Here’s what he had to say:

His love for Barca:

“Yes, I consider myself a club man. I have always believed that I have a duty to help the club. I am always looking for ways to improve the team without damaging the entity.”

His first year:

“The first day I arrived, Messi wanted to leave, with the well-known burofax scandal. Then the fragile economic situation, the motion of no confidence, and ultimately the resignation of Bartomeu and his board. Many problems, it has not been easy.”

Griezmann’s departure:

“Griezmann had a huge contract and if he left he would be improving the financial situation of the club. That is why I agreed to his departure.”

Luuk De Jong:

“In August, I talked to him to examine the possibility of incorporating him. I wanted something different and I thought of him because I know him well. In fact, I was wondering why Barca never had a forward like Luuk. He is going to offer many things, especially danger in the air with set pieces and corners. With Luuk, the team can play more direct football. I am very happy with his signing.”

Luis Suarez:

“I came to Barca, they called me to change things up in the first team. We thought it would help the club if Luis left. We assumed he would go to Juventus, not Atletico. You must never regret having made a conscious decision for the good of the team and the club.”

Best moment of the 20-21 season:

“Without a doubt, the final of the Copa Del Rey against Athletic, We played a perfect game from start to finish. Leo Messi arrived full-fledged. We were at a brilliant level.”

Biggest disappointment:

“The league game against Granda at home. If we won we would have gone top. Also, at specific moments in other games, I was very unhappy with the team’s display.”

Losing La Liga:

“I have analyzed it and I think we lacked intensity. We often suffered disconnections during the second half of the games. Defensively we left a lot of spaces and the team’s penalized us. These blows affected our confidence. We must learn from these mistakes.”

Laporta’s claims on Monday:

“I listened to them and they seemed perfect. I think it has to be that way. Everyone knows the future of a manager depends on results. It was important that he took advantage of the interview to clear things up. If the club has doubts regarding the coach, then we are going wrong. If this happens, the coach does not feel supported. I am very strong mentally. I don’t care what happens in the future. I am very calm in this regard. However, I am grateful for the public support Laporta gave me on Monday. Many people had doubts. Now, everything is clear.”

Laporta talking about football publicly:

“I really like it when the president talks about football. He tells me things, he shows interest. Of course, these conversations remain private.”

His renewal:

“Yes, sure. I’m open for it. I am very excited to continue at Barca for many more years, despite the difficult moment the club is in today. I think, thanks to our decisions, me and the technical staff. Barca has young players with a huge future. Hopefully in three, four, or five years. I can continue to be their coach.”

Umtiti:

“Regarding Umtiti, after the injury he had. It has been difficult for him to return physically, to his previous level. Lately, I see a much better Umtiti in this sense. Last year he had several games and minutes. He has to know there are plentiful center-backs in the squad. The competition is great. I have nothing against Umtiti or anyone. If a player shows me in training. That he deserves to play, he will play. For me, meritocracy is essential in a team sport.”

Riqui Puig:

“I have spoken with Riqui many times, in training. Analyzing what he should improve to gain more opportunities. The truth is: I want to win, the players want to win, the club wants to win, the fans want to win. I will always put the best on the field. If we win, I am a good coach, and if we lose I am a mess. I accept it but at least let me make the decisions that I think I should make.”

Ansu Fati:

“I know him very well and I know what he can give us. You don’t need to apply the ‘zero risk’ philosophy with him. He hasn’t played for a long time and there is no rush. There is still much to do. The same goes for Coutinho.”

Coutinho:

“I am one hundred percent convinced that he is a player with the level to succeed at Barca. I like him a lot. The latest injury was a very strong blow for him and he has to recover well. Both, physically and mentally. To come back stronger than ever.”

Messi’s departure:

“All the planning for the season was done with him in the team. Leo also, after what happened last season with the burofax, he was super motivated, at a very high level. Losing the best in the world like that is something that hurts and affects you.”

If he was a reason to Messi willing to stay:

“I imagine so, because if a player does not feel comfortable with his coach, with the squad, game system. He would not want to continue. We always tried to create an environment in which Messi felt comfortable. He saw that in this squad there are guys with a great future and he felt very comfortable with us.”

If all titles could be won:

“We have to be realistic, it will be difficult but I am very optimistic and ambitious.”

Frenkie:

“He has to be an essential player for us. I have asked him to come more in the rival’s area. He has to contribute to goals. Everyone, in general, has to score more goals.”

The Cruyffista spirit:

“This topic gives a lot of discussions. It must be remembered that even Cruyff did not always play 4-3-3. In my time we played with three defenders. I will say one thing: who does not know or does not want to adapt his system in a specific way to a need or problem. They are no good. Barca played the best football with me when we played with a three-man defense. I think we should go back to 3-5-2, I will.”

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