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Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman talks about Lionel Messi, the Champions League and the club's youngsters

Ronald Koeman looks on as Barcelona manager
Ronald Koeman looks on as Barcelona manager
Abhinav Anand
Modified 20 Oct 2020, 12:44 IST

Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman recently gave his customary press conference before their Champions League match against Hungarian side Ferencvaros later tonight.

Koeman answered a wide variety of questions about the Barcelona players, the team's form and the club's youngsters.

'He is happy, I haven't got any complaints': Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman on Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi wanted to leave Barcelona in the summer
Lionel Messi wanted to leave Barcelona in the summer

Barcelona appointed Ronald Koeman in August this year to replace the sacked Quique Setien. Koeman, regarded as a Barcelona great due to his achievements as a player, left the Netherlands national team job to take over at the club.

However, much of the focus upon his arrival was on star Lionel Messi, who declared his intention to leave the club. While that may not have occurred, Messi, who has only one year left in his contract, is yet to sign a new one.

Koeman, though, believes that the Barcelona captain is focused and happy. He said:

"I’ve seen that he’s happy, he’s training well, he’s focused, he wants to play and he wants to be the captain of the team. I haven’t got any complaints."

Injury-prone forward Ousmane Dembele was another source of discussion, with Koeman stating that he is working hard:

"He’s training and doing well. He did lose possession a lot against Getafe, but it’s the way he plays. He played better in the second half, and he’s working hard to get minutes."

Barcelona's emphasis on giving youngsters minutes has not dwindled under the Dutch manager, with teenagers Pedri and Ansu Fati both playing key roles. Speaking of the youngsters at the club, Koeman said:

"Ansu and Pedri are ready to be starters. It doesn’t depend on age, it depends on performance. I am very happy for them, they are young and they will have ups and downs in which we will have to help, they are both doing very well."

Koeman admitted that Barcelona weren't among the favourites to win the Champions League this time around.

However, he opined that Catalan giants could go a long way. He said:

"When you’re at Barcelona, you need to be in the mix to win trophies, be it in the Liga or in Europe. We aren’t the absolute favourites for this one, but we can go a long way."

Barcelona have drawn Italian giants Juventus, Ferencvaros and Dynamo Kyiv in the Champions League group stages this season.

Also Read: Only 3 Barcelona stars accept pay cuts as financial crisis looms over club

Published 20 Oct 2020, 12:44 IST
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