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Home » FC Barcelona Coach Koeman Speaks On El Clasico, Team Performance Plus Griezmann, Young Player Roles

FC Barcelona Coach Koeman Speaks On El Clasico, Team Performance Plus Griezmann, Young Player Roles

Ahead of El Clasico against Real Madrid, FC Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman has spoken on a wide range of subjects including his team’s performance and the roles of Antoine Griezmann and his young players.

Beginning on tomorrow’s opposition, Koeman doesn’t believe that the poor form of Zinedine Zidan’s men will have an impact on what happens in the match.

“The players of Barça and Madrid have so much experience,” Koeman expanded later. “I don’t expect a vulnerable Madrid – quite the opposite. I’m sure they don’t lack motivation. We have to prepare ourselves. The opposition have their qualities when they have the ball. Sometimes they have played more in a 4-4-2 when they play against us. And they’re probably not going to leave us the spaces they’ve left in their last games. We expect a more compact Madrid. It is important whether or not [Sergio] Ramos is [playing]: he is one of the best and has a lot of personality, and he can influence tomorrow’s Madrid.”

On whether Antoine Griezmann is “undisputed” in his first XI, Koeman conceded that the Frenchman has the chance to play. “It’s not good to talk about his role in every game. Because there are more players and the team is more important. [I] plan tactical things and choose the best players to get the best result,” Koeman stressed.

An interview which has seen Gerard Pique slam Josep Bartomeu and the way the club is run has been widely-discussed this morning, but Koeman is not bothered by the furor.

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“He has his opinion, [and] I respect it. He’s a smart person who knows perfectly well that if he does an interview then he’s going to play well. He’s been here many years longer than I have. And I respect any opinion. That he’s in the game is the most important thing, and he is,” Koeman said.

“I hope I can sleep,” Koeman admitted, when asked if he will have trouble getting 40 winks on the eve of the biggest fixture in club soccer. “Of course it’s a game where there’s more pressure, but I’ve been in this sport for many years. And my feeling is we’re going to play an important match against our rival but I’m used to being asked about this and sleeping peacefully [or not].”

Regarding whether the young players will be given a run out, Koeman said, “The most important thing is their performance. I don’t look so much at the experience. Young people have to play matches to have experience. I only look at the best ones for tomorrow. The best XI, and [that] does not depend the age of a player.”

“I think Barça have always shown a lot of ambition and a lot of hunger. We lost the last league game and we want to react and take a step forward – especially to show that we’re on the right track. The match will be decided on the small details,” Koeman commented.

“I don’t believe much has changed,” Koeman admitted, of a possible decline in quality in this derby. “The big change is that there’s no audience. The worst thing that could happen to a clasico is that there was no audience. But I don’t see El Clasico any different from my time. If you don’t win there’s criticism.

Koeman finds gaining all three points “important” for the strength of his sporting project as “you learn you gain confidence if you win matches”.

“The players deserve it for the work they’re doing every day. They demonstrate ambition by playing with a system that they are not accustomed to. And above all [they] concentrate match by match. [They] have an especially big motivation to play these matches with peace of mind,” he concluded.

Source: Forbes – Business

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