BARCELONA – Ronald Koeman made clear his dissatisfaction with Riqui Puig, without having to name him directly but taking into account his name when asked if the desire he contemplates during all training sessions with Ronald Araújo is lacking in other footballers such as the youth squad.
“There are people in the squad who may have too much competition, but in training they don’t do enough to make the coach think about changing things,” revealed the Dutch coach, in a clear allusion to the midfielder.
It was a direct warning from Koeman towards which he considers little predisposition of Riqui during training and that would explain his little participation since the season began, which is reduced to 83 minutes distributed (always as a substitute) in 4 of the 18 games played by him Barça team.
“Araújo and Riqui are totally different. Riqui needs more physique … And yes, I like the people who work every day to improve and take opportunities with both hands. Today there are other things besides quality. There are those who have too much competition, but in training they don’t do enough, “he said, after having praised the Uruguayan central defender without reservation.
“Araújo is a player who despite his youth is very strong physically and fast for his height. He has a strong character, commands, always trains hard, he likes to listen, learn … He must improve in his first ball control, in circulation, in vertical passes …
“But we are talking about a very young player who has a great future and who wants to listen, who works hard and is open to all advice,” he said, referring to the Uruguayan central defender, later understanding his response in relation to Riqui as the other side of the coin.
It was not Koeman’s only dart during the press conference prior to the game this Saturday against Valencia, which he referred to as a rival “who will make things difficult for us, who has already beaten Real Madrid and has only lost one game of the last six he has played … But, as I always say, we depend on ourselves, to come out very focused and play with a lot of energy “.
Nor was Pjanic spared, whose leading role is still far from what was expected, saying that the Bosnian “must prove that the coach is wrong. In the middle of the field there is a lot of competition, and if Aleñá entered against Real it is because he is left-handed and we needed him because Pedri was leaving.
“He (Pjanic) and everyone must wait for the opportunity and show that the coach is wrong. There is a lot of competition and only eleven can play. Some do not play much and must and train to show that they are very useful for the team. “
The Dutch coach specified that his team creates “many opportunities, which is the main thing” although he acknowledged that “we need to be more effective”, solving that in the last games “there is more freedom in the midfield, with players who can play in different positions. and that is a complication for our rivals. “
Regarding his past at Valencia, Koeman recalled that “we won a Cup” admitting that his adventure at Mestalla was “very difficult. There you cannot work calmly. I know that some former players are commentators, each one seeks a life. Of course It is not the best memory of my career. I had to make decisions and I can make mistakes like anyone else. But at least we won something, the Copa del Rey. It is a complicated place, which in 15 years has had many managerial changes. And it seems that there sometimes lack of tranquility to work calmly “.
“I have always seen a good atmosphere in the dressing room, although of course it is easier to have an atmosphere of joy when you win the games like the other day,” he said when asked if the atmosphere among the squad had improved and specifying, directly to the journalists, that “you don’t see what happens in training, or in the dressing room before or after the games and you talk and give your opinion. Journalists have an easy job” he shot.
He also repeated his complaints about the calendar and schedules, confirming that he continues to think “the same. The calendar is crazy and if we win the semifinal of the Super Cup in January we will have one more game … There are many away games and we are killing the players. I like to go game by game, but we have to think about the trips, we come home late … We have to talk about how to solve such a tight season. “