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Ronald Koeman urges Barcelona forwards to show belief, respects Lionel Messi's delay in deciding future

FC Barcelona vs Levante UD - La Liga Santander
FC Barcelona vs Levante UD - La Liga Santander
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Modified 03 Jan 2021, 13:27 IST
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Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has urged his side to show improvements in all aspects of the game when he spoke to the media before his team's first La Liga clash against Huesca, their first league game of the year.

According to SBNation, the Dutchman is resigned to the fact that Barcelona have put themselves in an extremely difficult position in terms of winning the La Liga title but said that he hasn't lost hope just yet. Koeman said in this regard:

"We know every single game is tough. The league is really equal, but there are some teams that are suffering like Huesca. They have not let in many goals at home, and I think we have to be prepared for a tough game. We have to improve in many aspects of the game."

The Barcelona manager continued in this regard:

"There are many games, many away from home. I am realistic, and we are 11 points off the top. You cannot lose many more points. We are not in the position to say that we have many possibilities to win. We cannot lose another game if we want to fight for the championship."

Ronald Koeman will have Lionel Messi available for selection against Huesca after the Barcelona captain missed last game against Eibar. Barcelona created a lot of chances in that game, even in Messi's absence, but failed to make any of them count, with Martin Braithwaite also missing a penalty.

When asked about the likes of Antoine Griezmann and their perceived underperformances, the Dutchman chose not to single out any individuals, saying in this regard:

"The issue is not just Antoine. There are many players in our forward line who need to be more effective."

Koeman stressed that Barcelona are still creating enough chances from open play, and the strikers need to start believing in themselves. The Barcelona manager also said that his team needs to improve in converting attacking set-pieces.

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Ronald Koeman has said that Messi trained for two days when the rest of the squad didn't, and that there are no doubts about him being ready for the clash against Huesca.


Ronald Koeman says Barcelona will respect Lionel Messi's decision about his future

Ronald Koeman has said he is not worried by the uncertainty over Lionel Messi
Ronald Koeman has said he is not worried by the uncertainty over Lionel Messi's Barcelona future.

The Barcelona manager also took questions on Lionel Messi's future, which hasn't been decided yet.

Messi is free to talk with clubs over a pre-contract agreement now. Koeman said that he respects Messi's decision to wait but said that he isn't concerned by the situation at the moment.

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"He is a player who will always demonstrate that he wants the best for the team. It is not a problem that he has not said yet what he wants to do," observed Koeman.

Koeman also said that the possibility of making new signings in January will depend on Barcelona's current financial situation and if they have the funds to acquire new players.

"If no one comes, it will be because of the club and the money," Koeman said.

However, Ronald Koeman did say that a few players could leave Barcelona in January on loan or on permanent deals, saying in this regard:

"I don’t want to give names, but I think some players need to play more games. Of course we want the best for our players. It’s true that some players won’t have many minutes here."
Published 03 Jan 2021, 13:27 IST
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