Barcelona Champions League Interviews Press conferences

Koeman: ” The team is strong and we will try to prove it again”

Ronald Koeman during the press conference before the round of 16 second leg fixture against PSG (Source : Miguel Ruiz/FCB)

After having a delightful last week both on and off the field, Barcelona play against PSG on Wednesday and hope for a result similar to the one 4 years ago. Ronald Koeman and Frenkie De Jong appeared for the pre-match press conference where they talked about the team’s morale, the new president, and the team’s mindset before playing this match.

This is what Frenkie De Jong had to say :

On the objective in Paris :

“It always has to be to qualify. We are going to go to compete and we will see how it goes.”

On Laporta’s first visit :

“We are happy that there is a president at Barça. It is important for the club. He wished us luck and told us to go to compete in Paris.”

On the team’s spirit :

“We are always united. Lately, we are getting good results and are united as a team. You can see that in games like the one against Sevilla. We are together and we are going to compete. I don’t know if 1-4 was fair but we played that game badly and we are going to give Barcelona a good image and to compete.”

On Ilaix bursting onto the scene :

“It does not surprise me much because I see him in training and you can see there that he has a lot of quality. He is very young but if he keeps working and improving, he has a great future here.”

On the absence of Neymar :

“For me, he is one of the best in the world and when he is not available to play, for us it is better. If he is not in front, it is easier.”

On playing every match :

“I feel very good. We train well and I don’t have any discomfort. That’s the most important thing. Last year I played a lot of minutes too. I’m happy and I want to continue like this.”

On the chances of a comeback :

“You always have to believe. We have been thinking about it since the weekend and we will try to prove it tomorrow.”

On options in other competitions :

“We are in the Cup final and in the League. Since the start of 2021, we are better, fighting for the title and we will see what happens.”

Ronald Koeman addressed the media next. This is what he had to say :

On the current scenario :

“I think nothing is impossible. We must be effective in the game to have options. It will be very difficult. We play against a team like PSG that does not allow the opponent to play much. There is much talk about the losses of the rival but we must know about ours, which are many more. We know that at Barça you have to win and we are going to show this mentality that we have been demonstrating for a long time.”

On whether the change in the system can help Barca again :

“In the first leg we were in a good moment but you cannot compare to overcome a 2-0 away with a 1-4 after having lost at home. It is much more complicated. PSG is strong and aspires to the maximum in the Champions League. To have an option to come back, you have to play the game very effectively. We will try. We always go out to win and hopefully we can. “

On the loss of Araujo and Pique :

“It is true that it is a season where not even for one day we have had all the players available. We have bad luck with our central defenders but we have shown that we do not depend on one or two players. The team is strong and we will try to prove it again.”

On Laporta’s visit to the training ground and his relationship with Messi :

“I don’t know if there are more options for Messi to continue. It is true that Laporta has a past with Leo and other players. That is positive but I don’t know if Leo has still decided about his future. Hopefully, he will continue with us. Laporta won the elections with quite a difference. The members voted and it is good to have a president like him to work things out for the future of this club.”

On his relationship with Laporta :

“I know him. I greeted him several times in the past. I also know Frank Rijkaard well, who was with Laporta as president. He gives a lot of confidence to his players. He is very involved in his role of helping coaches and players and in the end, it all depends on the results. He said a few words in the dressing room to the players and the staff and there were good vibes. Now we have to continue the path we started and tomorrow is a new test to show that we are in good shape.”

On Neymar and Kean being injured :

“I am not satisfied with anything. We have to come out strong, play our game, create opportunities to score, and if we play the game and then we have the feeling that we have given our best, we will see the result later. The most important thing is to give it our best and try. If we don’t, it’s the worst that can happen to us.”

On whether he has decided the starting eleven :

“I already have the eleven in my head. We have analyzed the first game. Tomorrow I will announce the team and with these 22 players we can play with any system.”

On Araujo’s return :

“We have talked and analyzed his last two weeks of training. We forced his return a little and then he had discomfort. I don’t want to force. He needs more training with the group and if all goes well, he will be available on Monday against Huesca.”

On the Messi factor needed for the comeback :

“Of course, if we think about being able to come back, we need any player at his best level. If Leo is capable of playing one of his best games, anything is possible. He can decide any game at any time. But not only he must be at his best level but the whole team. You have to be lucky too, finishing the plays and looking for the effectiveness we need. We will see at the beginning of the game if we can dominate and pressure them.”

On whether PSG are nervous because of the 2017 ‘remontada’ :

“I don’t think PSG is afraid of us. Surely their coach will prepare in the best way. But there are circumstances that are totally different to come back. It’s always easier playing the second leg at home than away. We must play our game.”

On the French players excited for the match :

“We know that the French players that we have, have a lot of ambition to play this game. They know what we need to come back and they must work to show their best level both individually and collectively to change things that we have not done well in at the home fixture.”