Ronald Koeman offered a positive fitness update on Barcelona trio Lionel Messi, Frenkie de Jong, and Ronald Araujo ahead of Wednesday’s Spanish Super Cup semi-final against Real Sociedad.
Messi and De Jong were replaced early in the 4-0 win over Granada on Saturday, due to minor niggles, while Araujo missed the game after straining a hamstring in the warm-up at Los Carmenes.
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Koeman Brings Good News
However, Koeman has included all three players in his squad for the Super Cup and told a pre-match press conference he is expecting the trio to be fit and available for Wednesday’s match.
There were several players that had some discomfort the other day. That’s why we took Messi off, we took Frenkie and Dest off as well. It seems all of them are going to be available tomorrow. Also Araujo, we have the training session this afternoon as well to see if they are all fit to play tomorrow.
The Barcelona boss also went into more detail with regards Araujo. The Uruguayan was named in the starting XI against Granada, but replaced by Samuel Umtiti just before kick-off, and Koeman hinted he could be ready to start the game.
He had an individual workout yesterday and we’ll see if he’s OK to train this afternoon. In principle he’ll be with the group but we’ll have to see how he does train today. I’m confident he will be available tomorrow, but we still have one training session to be sure that the player is 100 per cent.
Koeman is still without Gerard Pique due to injury but does have options at center-back. Clement Lenglet is back after serving a one-match suspension, while Oscar Mingueza and Samuel Umtiti are also both available and in contention to start.
Koeman Vows to Play Strong Team
The Barcelona boss also admitted that the Super Cup is not at the top of his list of priorities but insisted that he would play a strong team and his team are determined to win the trophy.
For us it’s important, Barcelona is used to fighting to win titles. It’s not the most important trophy, there is La Liga, the Champions League, the Copa del Rey, but we are here to play the semi-finals and our mentality is to give the maximum. We will play with the best team we have to try to get through to the final. That’s the first step we must take tomorrow.
The Catalan giants look to be improving under Koeman after a less than impressive start to the 2020-21 season. Barcelona head into the match on an eight-game unbeaten, a stretch that included a 2-1 victory over Real Sociedad in December.
Meanwhile, Wednesday’s opponents have struggled in recent games. La Real went down 3-2 to Sevilla on Saturday and have managed just one win in their last five games since losing at the Camp Nou.