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Koeman: “I’m convinced the fans will enjoy this team”

Ronald Koeman during the press conference before the round of 16 second leg fixture against PSG (Source : Miguel Ruiz/FCB)
Ronald Koeman during a press conference / MIGUEL RUIZ, FC BARCELONA

One day before Barça’s La Liga opening, Ronald Koeman held a press conference where he talked about the new season, Messi, and new players.

About the game against Real Sociedad:

“Very excited to get started and to be able to have 20 to 22 thousand supporters in the stadium. We know about the quality of Real Sociedad and every game we played against them has been very interesting.”

About Piqué’s salary reduction:

“We know perfectly well what the economic situation of the club is and that it needs help in any way. We have to highlight the attitude of Gerard (Piqué), (Sergi) Roberto, (Sergio) Busquets and (Jordi) Alba, because all the guys that have been at the club for many years want to help the club with improving the economic situation. It’s important and it shows they grew up here.”

About the preseason:

“Of course, a lot has been said about Leo Messi and that’s normal, we’re talking about the best player in the world. Here, at this club, he has shown how effective he is and his quality to win titles, so it’s normal. On the other hand, as I said, we won’t have him here anymore, but we have other players that form a very strong squad, especially when all the injured players have recovered. We have a strong squad in order to win important things. Starting tomorrow there are no excuses, we have a game where there are points at stake and the team is prepared. We’ve had five very good weeks of preseason without Leo. I’m convinced the fans will enjoy this team.”

About this season’s objectives:

“The Champions League is another thing. We always have to think more about the league itself, where we are a strong team and can aspire to the maximum. The Champions League is something else, they have home and away games from the second round and I think there have been teams that have won it without having the best players, but because they were strong as a team. We aspire to the maximum and we have to develop the team and gain confidence. The start of the league is important.”

About Messi’s goodbye:

“I think that it is painful for all Barça-fans. I understand what Messi has done for this club and the type of player he is. We miss him a lot because he is such an important player in Barça’s history. We can’t keep living in the past, these are things that happen. Players change teams and we have young players with a future, which I’m excited about. I hope we have the help and enthusiasm of the fans. Messi is the past and we can’t live in the past, we have to live today and tomorrow and work hard to achieve what we want to achieve.”

About the fans:

“I don’t think it’s about motivation, I think the limitation of tickets is due to the rules and distances, there is a maximum of 22,000 people. I don’t think they’re not motivated about the club. It’s still vacation, many people aren’t home in August. Those who do come will help us a lot with winning the game.”

About Pedri and Gavi:

“Pedri and Eric Garcia have returned with great courage, they have had a good Olympics and their head is now with Barça, they have shown in training that they are fine to be able to play. The same goes for Migueza, but he is injured. It’s true that Gavi is wearing a mask, he will be available tomorrow.”

About signing another forward and a midfielder:

“It’s true that looking at the team’s positions, nowadays, we are short of players in the attack: Ansu, Dembélé, Agüero, Coutinho… they’re four players of very high quality. We don’t have a lot up front and that’s why we’ve talked about being able to sign another striker. It would help us because we have different types of attackers, but to have more competition, yes, but it all depends on whether we can sign anyone. From the first day I’ve said it, each coach has places that he wants to improve, but it all depends on the financial fair play rules. If it’s possible, we will sign someone.”

About Memphis:

“I expect a lot from Memphis. It’s true that I know him well. We spent two years together with the national team where he has been a fantastic player who brought effectiveness and good performances to the team and I ask him to do the same here. He is fast and effective, and we have lost effectiveness with Leo leaving. We ask for more effectiveness in front of goal from all of the players, not only the forwards but also the midfielders. We will try to score more goals with our offensive strategy. Memphis is very important.”

About Griezmann:

“As I have always said, I love working with Griezmann because he is a team player who always helps when we don’t have the ball, he is very happy and encourages the others. Just like the other players, he has to take it one step further and be more effective. He will definitely be more important. Leo’s position, which is a possibility for Antoine to play in, gives more freedom to the team and himself and could be an advantage for him.”

About the salary reductions:

“They are complicated questions for me because it’s an issue of the club, where what the president says matters.”

About Frenkie de Jong and Ansu Fati:

“Frenkie has completed the last two days of training without any problems and if nothing happens, he will be available for the game on Sunday. Ansu is recovering from his injury, he has taken a lot of steps in the right direction. It’s always difficult to say exactly when, but if everything goes well, he’ll be back with the group in two or three weeks, to play after the international break.”