Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman offered Ousmane Dembele and Riqui Puig hope they will get chances to stake a claim for a place in his first-team in a pre-match press conference on Friday.
Both players are very much on the fringes of the first team currently and have yet to start in La Liga in 2020-21. The duo were also both linked with moves away in the summer transfer window but have opted to stay at the Camp Nou.
Koeman offered his thoughts on Dembele and said he is happy with how the Frenchman’s looked in training.
“Dembele has a lot of quality and will get better physically over these next few weeks, he hasn’t played much. He’s training well, like Konrad has been training well, Alena, the goalkeepers.
“There were a few things that came out in the press with his training. The only players who have had four days off were Pique and Neto. All the others just had two days off. Dembele was one of those. From what I’ve seen lately from his training makes me very optimistic.”
Dembele featured as a substitute in the 4-0 win over Villarreal but has not appeared since then. He should get chances in the coming weeks with Barcelona set for a busy schedule of seven games in a little over three weeks.
Koeman was also asked about Puig, who has been away with the Under-21 Spain team, and insisted that he would get opportunities over the course of the season.
“I didn’t see all the [international] matches, there were so many, it’s hard to keep up. I know that he played both the matches. I think he played 60 minutes in the first and just the first half in the other. I think the Under-21s have a strong side and are doing well. Riqui will be called up and he’ll have options to play.”
Puig hasn’t featured at all this season for Barcelona but has made it clear he is determined to be a success at the club and has said he thinks he will get first-team minutes.
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Koeman Previews Getafe Clash
The Barcelona boss takes his team to Getafe on Saturday in La Liga and is expecting a tough clash against Jose Bordalas’s side.
“We have to mention Getafe over these past few seasons. They have been doing a lot of positive things. They’ve now reached Europe as well which is a fantastic achievement.
“I saw the game against Ajax [on the Europa League]. There were a lot of complaints about their style in Holland. I wasn’t one of those people who complained. Each coach must find the best way to executed their game plan and to win.
“I expect a very tough match. We must be very well prepared, try to find space, there might be some hopefully, but I expect a complicated match.”
Barcelona will be aiming to maintain their unbeaten start to 2020-21 after opening with two wins and a draw. The Catalan giants possess a good record at Getafe and have not lost at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez since 2011.