Ronald Koeman has been unveiled as Barcelona’s new manager and has been talking about the changes that need to be made at the Camp Nou.
The Dutch coach has replaced Quique Setien as head coach and signed a two-year deal with the Catalan giants.
Koeman told a press conference “changes need to be made” in the wake of a trophyless season and another embarrassing Champions League exit and added his thoughts on the most important change needed.
“The biggest change I think we need to make to the team is to play with greater intensity.”
The 57-year-old, who returns to the club where he won the European Cup as a player back in 1992, also spoke about how he wants his team to play at the Camp Nou.
“Firstly I’m Dutch and the Dutch like to have the ball and take control of the ball. My thoughts are always to have the ball, dominate the ball, try to play great football and the most important thing of course is to try and win matches. I’ve learnt from great coaches as a player. I’ve got experience and I think I’ve got the ability to bring Barca to this top level.
“You have to be very happy wear the Barca shirt. you have to show that with commitment, professionalism, everything you have inside. If we do that the image will be totally different to what it was last week.”
The pressure will be on Koeman from the start to improve both results and performances. Barcelona ended the league season five points adrift of champions Real Madrid, while their 8-2 drubbing by Bayern Munich was one of the worst results in the club’s history.
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Koeman Hoping Messi Will Stay
Unsurprisingly, Koeman was also asked about captain Lionel Messi, amid speculation the Argentina international is unhappy at the club and wants to leave.
Koeman made it clear he wants the Argentina international to stay at the Camp Nou and is planning to speak with the 33-year-old about the future.
“I don’t know if I have to convince Messi [to stay]. I don’t know. Of couse he’s the best in the world and the best players in the world you want in your team, you don’t want him playing against you.
“For me as a coach I would love to work with Messi because he wins matches. For now he still has a contract, he’s still a Barcelona player. I need to speak to him, he’s the captain. We need to work with him and speak to various players. In Messi’s case I hope he stays with us.”
Messi’s future is just one of a host of decisions Barcelona and Koeman will need to make over the coming weeks. There are a number of other players who have underperformed in 2019-20 and may be deemed surplus to the new manager’s requirements.