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Manaj: We have to catch the rhythm for the start of the season

Rey Manaj celebrates Barcelona’s opening goal against Club Gimnastic de Tarragona / Pedro Salado / Getty Images

FC Barcelona opened it’s pre-season campaign with a strong 4-0 win over Gimnàstic de Tarragona, courtesy of a hat trick from Rey Manaj and a goal from Álex Collado. Ronald Koeman, Collado, Manaj, and Gavi spoke after the match.

Here is what Koeman had to say:

On the team’s victory today

“It is important that they have all played 45 minutes and have taken physical. There have been two different parts, with Nastic playing with ten. It’s a good result and there are very positive things.”

On the start of pre-season

“Everyone has come back well and we have trained hard. It is our first game, and we have to focus on the physical aspect. Everyone has been able to highlight their quality, especially the young people, although I will not give names.”

On fans being back in the stadium

“It was a good game, and I have to admit that it was a bit strange to see the fans in the stadium. Luckily things are beginning to return to normal. I love it and the players love it. They applaud, they help. We missed them a lot.”

On the return of the rest of the first team players and the upcoming matches

“It is important that we are going to have other players because we will have little time to train with the entire squad. It is important to have good games in Stuttgart and against Salzburg. They will be games of a higher level and will be an opportunity to discover how prepared they are.”

Here is what Collado had to say:

On not returning to Barça B

“I am going to work to the maximum to have minutes in the first team. I will not return to Barça B. The intention is to continue working and stay at Barça.”

On what will happen if he isn’t part of Koeman’s first-team plans

“Nothing can be ruled out, but the intention is to be in the first team.”

On the first days of pre-season and today’s match

“The team is very psyched, working hard. The first days are hard to get physical. The preparation stage is important, especially in the physical aspect, these games are important for us. The match is a test match, we are happy with the victory and the performance we gave.”

Here is what Manaj had to say:

On today’s match and his performance

“I am very happy. In the second half we started well, and I found the goal. It is a game to be confident, and we have to catch the rhythm for the start of the season.”

On receiving the match ball

“It is a memory, and I am going to get it signed by all the players.”

On rumors that he might leave the club

“I think about working here and then see what happens.”

On Barça B’s performance last season and the upcoming season

“I’m happy about last season. We had a good year and we were unlucky in the ‘playoffs.’ You have to keep working. These games serve to pick up the rhythm. It will be a very long year.”

Here is what Gavi had to say:

On making his debut for Barça today

“Today I made my debut and I am very happy, with the victory even more so. We have to keep going. For me it is a great joy. I have to keep working harder every day for when they call me up.”

On the team’s victory

“We are all very proud. The first half cost us a little more, but then we picked up the pace and scored the goal.”