In a season-best performance, Football Club Barcelona have just won their first trophy in over 700 days. Coming up against a tricky Athletic Bilbao, guided by Marcelino, Barça seemingly had a tough night ahead of them.
Additionally, they had just lost the El Classico in the league fixture before the match against Bilbao. Nevertheless, the Blaugranas turned up the heat in the Copa del Rey final, scoring four within twelve minutes, while also dominating the match for the full 90.
Speaking on the title win and what the team has done to improve it, Dutch manager Ronald Koeman was emphatic. “We’re very happy to win this title. We’ve made changes to the team, Barça must fight for the titles, also with young players. We have our first title and now we’ll continue fighting for La Liga.”
While the Copa del Rey is a great achievement for a side that had been in decline for five years, Barça should most definitely not curb their ambitions here; they are more than capable of challenging for the league title.
Koeman is aware of the importance of winning titles in a club like Barcelona, and how quickly coaches can be changed if they fail to do so.
Messi hugging with Koeman after the final whistle.
— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) April 17, 2021
Speaking on this, the Dutchman said, “In any big club you know that the manager depends on the titles and results, winning a title is also important for me, but above all for the players, who have fought for everything from day one. If there’s a team that deserves to win this Cup… It’s us. This title shows that we’re on the right track.”
It is nice for the fans to hear that the 58-year-old values the win more for his players – the ones who are out on the field every week – than making it too much about himself.
When asked on the system, the manager brushed aside its importance, saying he doesn’t give it much thought. “The system? I haven’t thought about it much. The team has been playing with three centre-backs for some time, although it’s true that in the last two games we have changed to a line of four. But against Athletic, it was the best system.”
Given the highly difficult circumstances the club has undergone over the last few years, this title win surely means a lot to the players. Under Bartomeu’s mismanagement, the club has taken an uncountable number of downturns, consistently worsening with each passing season. Therefore, after a trophy-less 19/20 season, the importance of winning a trophy this season could not be overstated.
“This title is very important for the club. Despite the circumstances, this team has had the faith to win the Copa del Rey and the team has shown that they’re hungry.”
As is becoming normal practice, the Dutchman was once again asked about his continuity as Barça coach for the upcoming season. Given that he’d suffered a shaky start to the season, many questions have been called from fans and pundits alike about his managerial duties at the club.
Koeman will 95% continue at Barcelona next season. Mateu Alemany and Ramon Planes are planning for next season with the Dutchman.
— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) April 16, 2021
Speaking on this, Koeman said, “My continuity? This decision is not in my hands. I have one more year of contract and everyone knows what we’re currently doing. At the end of the season we’ll see what has been won… Here you have to win things, and I’m responsible.”
On a pleasant note, Koeman could not hold back his joy at winning the Copa del Rey once again with his club Barça, but this time as their manager. “I feel very happy, especially for the club. I have been with Barça for many years and the club is suffering a lot. We showed that we wanted to win this trophy for the fans. I hope there’ll be fans at the stadium soon.”
Most importantly, the Dutch gaffer portrayed the importance of this post to him, and what being manager of Barça means to him. He has done a fantastic job in his first nine months as head coach of the Garnet and the Blue, and he is a true Culé in and out. “I’m proud to be Barcelona’s manager.”
Source: Barça TV+