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Ronald Koeman oversaw a tough start to the season domestically at the Camp Nou

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29 Nov 2020
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FC Barcelona

“I came to be the coach of this great club. It’s a delicate time. We have to work hard and change things when we have to.

The coronavirus has limited Barcelona

Ronald Koeman has talked about his first 100 days at Barcelona and called on his players to pick up their game in LaLiga. The Dutchman oversaw a tough start to the season domestically at the Camp Nou, although Barcelona’s Champions League form was perfect. “I don’t give myself any ratings,” Koeman said ahead of Sunday’s game against Osasuna. “I came to be the coach of this great club. It’s a delicate time. We have to work hard and change things when we have to. I’ve had a more relaxed 100 days as coach of other clubs, that’s for sure, but I’m happy. COVID has also limited us. We have seven games before the end of the year and the time to react in the league is now.

The team have to play with more intensity

“We have to close the gap between the teams at the top. If we are in a game where there are intensity and rhythm, we are outstanding. Sometimes our level drops, and we are distracted without the ball. We have to play with more intensity. It is not easy to know what is behind the Champions League differences from LaLiga. Maybe our opponents play in LaLiga more defensively and, in Europe, they are more open. But at the end of the season, we can say what’s happened. The team didn’t deserve to drop that many points. We have more confidence in the Champions League.” Lionel Messi did not travel with the squad to face Dynamo Kyiv in Ukraine in the middle of the week and is expected to return to the team against Osasuna. “I think he rested well like Frenkie De Jong,” said Koeman about Messi.

The players and staff recently agreed on the terms of a second play cut

“They’ve played everything with Barcelona and their national team. They couldn’t go on like that, and that’s why we left them at home. Hopefully, they are fresh and have the energy against Osasuna.” Away from the field, Barcelona’s players and staff recently agreed on the terms of a second pay cut. “We have to look at the club’s financial situation,” Koeman said. “We must help out of love for this club. I am ready to help. “It’s also good that the players have reached an agreement. We have to think about what’s best for Barcelona.” Finally, following the death of Diego Maradona on Wednesday, Koeman paid tribute to the former Barcelona striker. “The death of Maradona affected us, especially the Argentines,” admitted Koeman.

“Even we can’t imagine how much he meant to them. But it has the effect of motivating you to give your best on the pitch. I played against him once. I was left watching him in the warm-up. He was the best in the world. We enjoyed his ability. I was lucky enough to play against him and see his ability.”

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