Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has offered his thoughts on his new team, the forthcoming Champions League, and the summer transfer window.
La Liga is currently paused due to the international break, allowing Koeman to sit down with Barca TV and give his verdict on how his team is looking after the early weeks of the season.
Barcelona have collected two wins and a draw from their opening three games, with 17-year-old Ansu Fati the star of the show. Fati has three goals already and Koeman has clearly been impressed with the youngster.
“His performance is of the highest level. We are talking about a player who is only 17 years old. Playing three consecutive games of top level football at that age means he is very good. He is also a kid who wants to learn; he trains to learn and improve, and we are here to help him.”
Fati’s form means he has cemented his position in the starting XI alongside Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, and Philippe Coutinho. The Barcelona attack looks in good shape with eight goals from three games.
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Koeman Happy with Transfer Business?
Koeman also stated he was happy with the club’s transfer business despite missing out on some top targets. The Dutch coach openly admitted he wanted a new center-back and a No. 9 but saw moves for Eric Garcia and Memphis Depay fail.
“I am happy with the squad that we have. We have tried to improve: With some things we’ve done that, and others we haven’t, but that’s also partly due to the club’s financial situation. We have to accept it and work hard.”
However, Barcelona did manage to sign youngsters Pedri and Francisco Trincao and bring in Miralem Pjanic from Juventus and Sergino Dest from Ajax. Koeman is pleased with the way all four players have settled into life at the Camp Nou.
“Pedri and Trincão have been working since day 1, performing well. Pedri is only 17 and I love how he is working, training and playing. Trincão is also adapting quickly to our ideas, and he is a young player with a great future ahead of him.
“Pjanić has arrived here a little later, but he will gradually get up to full fitness. He has a lot of quality. Dest looked very comfortable in his 20 minutes against Sevilla.”
Barcelona could dip into the transfer market again when the window reopens in January, but their difficult financial situation means they may well have to sell before they can buy.
Focus on the Champions League
Koeman also offered his thoughts on Barcelona’s Champions League hopes ahead of Europe’s elite competition restarting in October. The Catalan giants play Ferencvaros, Juventus and Dynamo Kiev in Group G and will be expected to make it safely through.
“It’s a very important competition. In theory we are the best in the group, but we have to show that. We start at home against Ferencváros, which is an important game for which we have to prepare and analyse the opposition.
“Juventus are showing every year that they have a strong team, with experience and a great player like Cristiano Ronaldo. We have Pjanic, who can give us a little more information about his former club.”
Barcelona return to action on October 18 in La Liga with a trip to Getafe. They then take on Ferencvaros and Juventus in the Champions League and play Real Madrid in La Liga in a hectic end to the month.