BILBAO – Ronald Koeman, Barcelona coach, said after the draw achieved in San Mamés against Athletic Bilbao that it was “a great game” and especially highlighted “the attitude of the Barça team.” The coach did not get rid of the usual questioning he has faced for a few weeks and addressed once again the absence of Lionel Messi in the team.
“I don’t always like to always talk about the same thing, but, of course, he is the best player in the world. The opposite is surely more afraid if he is there or not. Also for ourselves. Because Messi does not lose the ball. In the first half we lost balls and we couldn’t get the team higher. It shows, but we know it can’t be changed, “he commented.
Koeman analyzed what happened during the meeting in San Mamés.
“I think we got too complicated at the beginning and they pushed us a lot. You have to know how to play short from the goalkeeper and in the first 15 minutes we lacked calm, then we did better,” he valued.
“They had more opportunities than us. During the game, we must highlight the attitude of the team, especially our reaction after their goal. We had opportunities to win, although the draw is fair from what I have seen,” added the coach.
“Athletic has a very good level, playing like this is a very complicated field. That is why I cannot be unhappy with the team,” Koeman also commented before highlighting the performance of De Jong, of whom he said that “his game has been important” .
“Especially in the second half. He’s a high quality player who gives us a lot. In general, he played a great game.”
Finally, he referred to Memphis, author of the equalizer in San Mamés. “He is a great player, that’s why we have signed him. For me it is not surprising that in a short time he has shown his quality. He has made a great goal. In general, he is adapted to our way of playing. It is very important because it has effectiveness, strength and speed up “.
“When you come to a team like Barcelona, you have to have personality to show your quality. The pressure is greater than in other places. He takes it well and he is the perfect age to show his quality with us,” about the Dutchman.