Frenkie de Jong paid his new Barcelona team-mate Pedri the ultimate compliment on Tuesday as the Netherlands international previewed Wednesday’s Spanish Super Cup semi-final against Real Sociedad.
The midfielder was asked for his thoughts on the 18-year-old at a pre-match press conference ahead of the game and answered simply, “I think Pedri is very talented, he’s a high-quality player. He’s a crack in my opinion.”
The term “crack” is not used lightly and is generally used to describe the very best players in the world. Pedri has only been at Barcelona a matter of months but has already impressed and cemented his place in Ronald Koeman’s first team.
Indeed De Jong and Pedri are the only Barcelona players to have featured in every one of the team’s 18 La Liga games so far in 2020-21, a statistic that simply highlights their importance to the Catalan giants.
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De Jong Talks Improved Form
De Jong has also shone for the Catalan giants in recent games and has been one of the key factors behind the team’s improved form. Koeman’s men are now eight games unbeaten which has propelled them into third place in the table.
The Dutchman has been used in a more advanced role since the start of the season and appears to have relished the tactical tweak. De Jong has two goals and two assists in his last eight matches and spoke about both his and the team’s improvements.
I think we are doing well I feel good too. We have been improving as a team in recent games. I hope tomorrow we do well also. I think we are more fluid in our play and we are gaining more confidence.
I feel good right now personally and I think we are improving as a team compared to the beginning of the season. We’ve won the first games of the new year. I think we are doing well. I am playing a bit more different in these last games. I play later, more attacking and I feel more comfortable.
Koeman said in his news conference that he would play a strong team against Real Sociedad which means De Jong and Pedri will be expected to start the game once again in midfield.
De Jong Plays Down Favorites Tag
Barca’s good form, and the fact the beat Real Sociedad 2-1 in December, has led to suggestions that Catalan giants are favorites to lift the trophy on Sunday. The winner of Wednesday’s match will go on to play either Athletic or Real Madrid in the final.
Yet De Jong played down talk of Barca being favorites and also discussed the strengths of Imanol Alguacil’s side.
I think that when you play for a team like Barcelona, in any league or title game you play, you are always one of the favorites. We are motivated to win this cup but we have to beat Real Sociedad tomorrow.
Real Sociedad are a very good team. They play very well from the back, they have good structure and high-quality players. It’s going to be a tough game for us and we’ll have to play well to get to the final.
De Jong was on target the last time the two sides met at the Camp Nou less than a month ago. Willian Jose put the visitors in front but Jordi Alba equalized before the Dutchman hit the winner to secure all three points.