In the traditional pre-match conference, Ronald Koeman answered questions ranging from Ramos to Dembele ahead of the very very important El Clasico.
Barça has been on an amazing run on the road accumulating nine consecutive wins in the last nine away fixtures in the league. When asked a question about this, the dutchman replied “We usually get great results away from home. We’re fighting for La Liga, tomorrow’s game will be very important.”
This Clasico comes at a very important juncture as Atletico Madrid continues to lose points. Both the clubs will look to get the upper hand for the upcoming fixtures by getting a win tomorrow. However, we have seen that La Liga has been very competitive this season and any of the teams can upset a big team. A loss tomorrow will certainly not mean end of the world.
Koeman addressed the same by saying “The result of the game won’t be decisive. There will be many more games after tomorrow. Of course it’s an important game, that’s for sure.”
Lionel Messi has produced some exceptional moments in the past in El Clasico. However, he has not been able to score a goal in this fixture for almost 3 years now. The Argentine has been in spectacular form since the turn of the calendars and will be looking to reverse the situation.
Koeman also had his say in the matter: “We hope that Messi is decisive for us tomorrow. We need the best version of Messi, but above all we need the best version of Barça.”
Dembele has been a very important player in Koeman’s newfound system and the Dutch manager had words of praise for the last match’s hero: “Dembélé is a high-quality player who has a lot of pace, who can use both of his legs. He is a player who creates a lot of problems for the opponent and he is key to us.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and fixtures congestion, there have been more injuries this season than any previous seasons. Both the teams have had important players facing a long time on the sidelines.
When asked about the same, Koeman replied: “Ramos and Varane are significant losses for sure, but we have them too. Roberto, Piqué, Ansu, and Coutinho have been out for a long time. It is going to hurt them, but they have shown that they have other players who can step up.”
The Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp had certain issues with the training ground at Valdebebas which Madrid is currently using as their home ground due to the ongoing renovation work at Santiago Bernabéu.
Koeman was also asked about the ground and he had a classy reply to the question: “There is no need to discredit a big club like Real Madrid. They took advantage of the situation to carry out work in the Bernabeu. I’m sure the field will be fine.”
Tomorrow’s Clásico will be an encounter between Real’s experience and Barça’s joyful youth. It will be the first Clásico for many of the players. The Dutch manager also spoke about the same in his presser.
“El Clásico is different than any other game. Young players need the help of the senior players, but it is important that the youngsters play so that they get the experience.”
The highlight of Zidane’s Madrid has been their ability to adapt to different situations. They play in different systems according to the different situations in the match. Koeman also had a very interesting answer when asked a question about the same.
“The team’s confidence is much higher now than it was earlier. I think it is important to be ourselves and follow our ideas. We must not change our style because the opponent is called Madrid,” said the dutchman.
The last Clásico saw a very controversial decision going in Real Madrid’s favour which shifted the momentum of the tie. Given the context of the tie, it’s very normal to talk about the referee and other outside factors.
However, when asked a question on the matter, Koeman once again gave a very composed reply. “The referee? It’s true that maybe sometimes we talk too much about the referee. For me, the topic isn’t very important. Lahoz is a good referee and so is Manzano,” said the Barça manager.
With Pique returning to the squad and having a fully fit Araujo at Koeman’s disposal, it was natural to ask about Frenkie De Jong’s position in the next game. The Dutch midfielder has played in varying positions in previous matches acing each one of them.
“De Jong? The nice thing is that he can play in multiple positions and he brings so much value. He brings a lot and that’s the most important thing,” Koeman concluded.
We saw a very calm and composed manager in the pre-match press conference. The team has improved a lot since the change of year and the dutchman will be looking forward to yet another spectacular performance away from home.
Source: Barça TV+