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Pedri: I have never scored with my head in my life

Messi & Pedri celebrating after Barcelona’s second goal. (Source: GETTY IMAGES)

Barça beat Athletic Club convincingly in San Mamés, their first win there in 3 years. Ronald Koeman and Pedri, who once again played outstandingly, reflected on what the win means for the team after the match.

Here is what Koeman had to say:

On the progress the team is making:
“The team is growing, playing with more confidence and is sometimes close to reaching the best stage. Even in the weakest moments we were close to a good version. I think we deserve more points and we must continue along this line.”

On how the game went:
“We had the ball, we were organized well and we defended well. After the goal we conceded we had control, we scored and were able to score more goals, although three goals away from home is fine. We won by three, we controlled the game, they tried everything and in the last three minutes we controlled well.”

On his players’ reaction after going 1-0 down:
“After the 1-0 we were mentally very involved, with a lot of concentration. We have to have better organization than in the first goal, but then we were good, looking for the free man in midfield and completing a good game, with opportunities. Leo hit the post twice, but in general the team was very focused and had a great game.”

On what he thinks the team needs to improve on:
“There are things to improve, but every time we have a better controlled game, with better ups and downs. It is the way forward. It is important to have good players, especially in the midfield. With Busi, with De Jong, with Pedri and with Messi we always had superiority there.”

On Pedri
“He is one more and he is at a very high level compared to the others.”

On Messi:
“From day one, when we started together, he has done his best. He has not surprised me with his quality, because he has been at a high level for many years. It may be that his effectiveness is now a little more than at the beginning. I think he’s really looking forward to it, I think so, but he must give the best answer.”

On Dembélé:
“Everything starts with the player himself. If he feels comfortable and well he can perform. He physically is fine and has recovered. I also have to think about where I can rest him. He gives us a lot, for his quality in the one on one situations, depth and speed.”

On Barça’s chances in LaLiga:
“There is always a chance, because the season is very long. You can have ups and downs in a season and it may be that a team that is doing very well will find it difficult at the end, because there is a lot of competition and also the greats have a very tight schedule and it is very difficult to endure the whole season.”

On previous games:
“The team has been working very seriously for a long time, with intensity. I think we deserved more points in the past and today we were effective. It is also a matter of confidence, which we increase, and it is a matter of preparing for the next game. It is important to get all 3 points.”

Here is what Pedri had to say:

On the importance of the game:
“We knew it was an important game and we prepared the game well. We knew how they were going to play, looking for Williams’ speed. They scored a goal very early and it was a hard blow, but we were able to come back and we took three very important points.”

On the team’s reaction after conceding first:
“When they score a goal at the beginning the normal thing is to collapse and we did the opposite. We were confident and we knew how to come back, I’ll stay with that.”

On his goal:
“I have never scored with my head in my life. Thanks to De Jong who kept the play alive, I was able to score the equalizer.”

On his assist to Messi:
“It’s a super fast play where Messi passed me from behind, and he told that he was alone. Luckily he was able to score. When you’re on the pitch with him, he knows when he’s in a dangerous position, like in Valladolid.”

On what the win means:
“I’m happy for the team’s victory and my goal and assist. We must continue on this road, because LaLiga is very long and anything can happen. We are going to continue fighting for the first place, which is what we would like and we have to keep working, improving day by day.”

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