Barcelona delivered a 3-1 pre-season friendly win over Nastic in Ronald Koeman’s first game in charge of the club on Saturday.
The Catalan giants eased to a comfortable victory thanks to goals from Ousmane Dembele, Antoine Griezmann, and Philippe Coutinho. Lionel Messi captained the side on his first appearance since a failed attempt to leave over the summer.
Koeman also used the game to hand new signings Pedri and Francisco Trincao their debuts and seemed pretty happy with the two new-boys after the game, according to Marca.
“He [Pedri] is a great talent. He’s 17 and such an important signing for our future. He has trained with us and has the quality to play, so we’ll see how much he can take part.
“I liked Trincao positionally, sometimes coming inside and sometimes going outside. He has quality and has to adapt to the speed and rhythm. He’s a great signing.”
The former Netherlands boss also spoke about captain Messi who only returned to pre-season training on Monday. The Argentine was late back after telling the club he wanted to leave only to confirm he would be staying 10 days later.
“He [Messi] has shown the same spirit as in the first day. He’s training well and did the same on our day off. He knows that he has to improve physically, like everyone, but his quality speaks for itself.”
Barcelona will play their second pre-season friendly on Wednesday against local rivals Girona. The Catalans’ first game of the season is scheduled for September 26/27 against Villarreal at the Camp Nou.
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Trincao Trickery On Show For Barcelona
Koeman opted to play two different teams on Saturday in order to cast his eye over as many of his players as possible in a match scenario. Pedri started the game and played the first 45 minutes, while Trincao came on and showed his trickery in the second half.
The 21-year-old, who made his Portugal debut over the recent international debut, has arrived from Braga on a five-year deal for a fee of €31 million. His €500 million release clause shows how highly the club rate their new youngster.
Trincao’s trickery was evident against Nastic, with the youngster showing just how much he loves to run at defenders with the ball at his feet.
Trincão off the dribble pic.twitter.com/zx6vDUmKsy
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) September 12, 2020
Trincao was unlucky not to finish with an assist. He dinked a clever ball into Konrad de la Fuente to volley past the goalkeeper, but the strike was harshly ruled out for offside.
Saturday’s game and the performances from the two youngsters bodes well for the club’s future. Barcelona endured a chaotic campaign last time out and finished without a trophy for the first time in over a decade, meaning a significant improvement is needed in 2020-21.