Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman has sent his players a strong message of what he expects from the squad throughout the season ahead of the new 2021-22 La Liga campaign.
Koeman will take charge of the club for a second season and will want to improve on last season’s third-placed finish. The Catalan giants did win the Copa del Rey but also disappointed in Europe, going out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage.
The Barcelona squad is currently in Germany for a pre-season training camp where Koeman has spoken directly to the squad about his demands for the upcoming campaign, according to Diario Sport’s Toni Juanmarti.
“This year you have to give much more,” was the key message from the Dutch trainer to his players. He also added in reference to last season, “we were killed by specific mistakes that we cannot repeat if we want to win titles.”
Barcelona is due to play three more friendlies against Stuttgart, Red Bull Salzburg, and Juventus before the new campaign. The Catalan giants’ first La Liga fixture is scheduled for August 15 at the Camp Nou against Real Sociedad.
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Barcelona Players In Germany
Koeman named a 25-man squad for the trip to Germany which includes a mixture of senior players and young prospects. The club is still without Lionel Messi, Emerson Royal, and Sergio Aguero after their Copa America exploits, while Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Ansu Fati, and Philippe Coutinho remain on the injured list.
Spain trio Eric Garcia, Pedri, and Oscar Mingueza also miss the trip due to their involvement at the Tokyo Olympics. La Roja are through to the quarter-finals of the men’s football tournament and will take on Ivory Coast for a place in the last four.
Barca has enjoyed comfortable wins over Girona and Nastic so far but will now look to step up preparations ahead of a tough start to the new La Liga season. Koeman’s men face Athletic, Getafe, and Sevilla after opening up against La Real.
Memphis To Shine Under Koeman?
One player who will be looking to impress in the early weeks of the season is new signing Memphis Depay. The Dutchman scored on his debut against Girona and thinks he can offer Barca a different dimension in attack, as reported by Diario Sport’s Sergi Capdevila.
“There are lots of attackers in the squad, but I think we all offer something different,” he said. “My skills and strong points are different to those of Agüero, for example, or any other attacker. I think that the three of us all bring something different to the table and we would be able to play together, but let’s see what side the manager picks.”
Memphis thrived under Koeman when the duo worked together for the Netherlands national team and the Barca boss will be hoping he can bring the best out of his compatriot at the Camp Nou.