Press conferences

Koeman: “We will miss all the fans in the Camp Nou tomorrow”

Ronald Koeman during his press conference ahead of the El Clásico /Mundo Deportivo

Barça coach Ronald Koeman sat down for his pre-match press conference prior to Saturday’s clash against Real Madrid at the Camp Nou.

On the Clásico without fans

“We are missing all the fans. It’s a bit strange, in such a big field, not having fans who create a good atmosphere for the home team. Hopefully, we can have that atmosphere soon. The help of your audience is almost like having one more player.”

On Madrid’s recent form

“Madrid in the last two days have not had good results, but that does not mean that they have low morale. They have very experienced players and they know that they must win this game after the last two defeats. I don’t think their poor form will have an influence.”

On Griezmann

“He has options to play. He is an important player and we want all the players to be at the best level. The team is the most important thing. We choose the players to get the best result.”

On his first Clásico as coach

“It’s a different game from the others, for everyone. In a Clásico there is always more pressure, but I’ve been in this for many years. We’re going to play a game tomorrow against our great rival.”

on the Piqué interview

“Gerard has been here for many years and he has his opinion and I respect it. He is a smart person and knows perfectly that what to say in an interview of such sort. If the player is involved in the game, that’s the most important thing, despite the interview.”

On Madrid’s system

“The opposition has its quality. We know that in the past they have played 4-4-2 and I think they will not leave spaces like they did against Cádiz and Shakthar. They are waiting to know if Ramos will be available and that can influence tomorrow’s game a lot.”

On Jordi Alba

“The player has the last word, he knows perfectly how he is doing. We have to wait and see his reaction to today’s training. He has the option to play tomorrow.”

On trusting young players

“The most important thing is the performance of each player. I see no problem with having young players playing. To gain more experience they have to play games. I only think of the best 11 for tomorrow, and it does not depend on the age of a player.”

On his experience in the Clásicos

“Not much has changed, the only thing is that there is no public. These are two big teams that always fight to win titles. If one does not succeed, there is criticism and there is talk of the coach’s plans. It is a game that is decided on the field.”

On the importance of winning for his project

“It is important. If you win, you gain confidence. The players deserve it for the work they are putting in every day. They show a lot of ambition. We have to concentrate game by game, we have a very tight schedule.”

On the salary cuts

“I’m not worried about that. I’m a person who communicates in a very direct way. I understand the position of the club and the players, they have to talk to each other. What I have to do is win games. If I see something different, I will talk to them.”

On Ansu and Pedri

“We know that they are two players, despite their age, they are very good. Their trajectory of progress is very fast. For me, the age of the player is not important, the important thing is their performance.”

On the rebuild of the squad

“We try to change things and the most important thing is the quality of the players. It is good that we have changed the team a bit, with young players. They are making merits to play. Ansu Fati is already playing in the national team and he will be a star, but he has to work hard. We are going to help him to be one of the best in the world, as with the rest of the youth players.”