Press conferences

Ronald Koeman: “The team needs to improve”

Koeman at the press conference / Miguel Ruiz
Koeman at the press conference / Miguel Ruiz

Ronald Koeman spoke to the press, ahead of tomorrow’s match against Elche in the Spanish La Liga. He addressed several concerns surrounding the team and its recent performances.


“The opponent must be feeling confident after their win against Eibar, which increased their chances of not being relegated to the 2nd division. The match will be a difficult one. I am not sure whether Elche will play as low of a block as Cadiz did against us, but they are playing to get the most out of the match. The outcome will depend on how well we will defend, which also includes not making mistakes in important moments.”


“You always have to analyze the bigger picture, as in the state of the team, the physique and confidence of each player. We know the mistakes have cost us points, but it is unfair to isolate one player or one defender because we need to acknowledge, that we had many chances to score prior to the mistake. We have had a lot of chances in many matches and the realization is not at a level worthy of a club like FC Barcelona. We have also had a lot of bad luck. But sometimes it seems as the opponents do not have to do much to score against us. And it usually costs us. We create a lot of scoring chances and finish the game at 1-1. We have to improve.”


“I spoke to him this morning. He is very professional as a footballer and he has taken his errors personally. As I mentioned before, one player is not guilty of a point loss, we need to look at a bigger picture. Of course, there are situations where he could have reacted better, but there were other defensive errors, which have also cost us points. By leading 2-0 in the last minute of the match, you minimize the risk of a mistake being fateful. We must give in to analysis, but we cannot assume that the whole problem is Lenglet. Whether he will play or not, those are the decisions the coach needs to make. A player has to be ready and show confidence. A lot depends on the physical and mental state of the players. You always have to choose the best eleven players.”


“This is not the time to talk of other players. We are in the midst of playing important matches and we are nearing the decisive moment, which will provide us with a new president of the club. We have to concentrate on what we have here. These upcoming matches are decisive and we need to be prepared for them, which is the most important thing right now.”


“I do not know if everything floating around is true, but I am not able to say anything for sure until I speak to the new president. There are many rumors around. We have to wait for the new president, who will determine the future of this team and the coach.”


“It is true, that as a Barça player, the goal is to win at all times, but we are currently playing a lot of matches. We need to transfer the energy from our last matches to the upcoming ones too. We have lost points, it is true, but from the last 13 matches, we have won 10 and drawn 3. I am disappointed to lose two points at home, but this is the path we should continue following. If we keep on failing, we will lose our chance to win anything.”


“I still believe we can fight for the title. It is evident that every team can have a bad period. It will depend on the two upcoming matches, which are incredibly important for the title. And we have to come back in the Copa too. I am not a supporter of believing any game is more important than the other. We can do something in both of the competitions. In a span of 1 week, we have 3 very important matches. It will be difficult to overcome Sevilla in front of an empty Camp Nou, as having our fans support us would help us massively.”


“He is improving. He will not be available tomorrow against Elche, as he has not trained with the team yet. For now, he is training alone and gradually improving. But first, you have to test him in training with the team to see whether he is ready or not. There are still doubts, so we have to wait. Whether it will be this weekend or next Wednesday, we will see, it is never good setting a date.”


“We are aware that in the football world everything can change in a couple of days. The feelings and the opinions of the press can change, so we have to accept it and move on. The results of the Sevilla and PSG matches hurt us. We are Barça and we have to be proud of it. The more experienced players and the captains should create a positive atmosphere for the whole team. It is normal that the spirits have fallen a bit, but the upside to it is the fact that we play a match every 3 days. Winning tomorrow will mean going second in the league and it will be different again.”


“We have given a lot of opportunities to young players. There are no more or less important moments to give young players a chance. I always want to offer them chances. But we also need some more experienced players to step up. We already have a lot of youngsters featuring too, now it is important to find the right balance. The team needs to be fresh and energetic. Some players have played a lot, so understandably they are tired.”


“The problem does not lie in our chance creation. It would be worse if we could not create scoring opportunities. We have to be more effective in front of the goal. We created enough against Cadiz but did not score our second. These moments are also important and we are lacking quality in our finishing this season. Our scoring percentage is very low for such a big club.”


“I think we have to look into the opportunities they have had. Antoine was very effective last month. Last time out Ousmane had 2 or 3 great opportunities to score and he should have scored at least one. We need more effectiveness upfront.”


“I am feeling fine today. But I was not so well after Sunday. I feel responsible for the results and I am thinking about how to improve things. It affects me, but I cannot be feeling down and insecure. I told the team today that no team can win all of their matches. The difference in the points is lesser than it was three weeks ago and it will depend on the upcoming matches. There is hope and if there is, we have to go for it.”


“I am critical of them in the dressing room. My job is to analyse and see the mistakes. I organize meetings with the players and I speak transparently to them. I do not like to criticize sole players through the press. I prefer telling them personally when I speak to them, but on the outside, I have to protect them. You can be more direct behind the doors.”


“I think the team has a lot of leaders and captains. There is Pique in the back, with Sergi Roberto, who is currently missing, Alba is also very experienced and then we have Busquets in the middle, with Leo up top. There is enough personality in the team. They have to make their mark, as they have already experienced many things at this level, so they have to help ease the way for the youngsters.”


“Sometimes it is a matter of concentration, other times a matter of not scoring our second goal. There are many things to do better. We have to accept this fact. We already talked about it and the team knows it is good enough to improve. The focus needs improvement in situations where the result is at 1-0 or 2-1. We are experienced enough to do it.”