Sevilla vs Barcelona Face Sevilla in Copa del Rey semi
Ronald Koeman has seen a drastic improvement from Barcelona in recent weeks, so much so that he would rate his side ten out of ten.
The Catalans are in Andalusia on Wednesday to face Sevilla in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi final, and the Dutchman spoke to the press about the game.
“It seems like we survived on many occasions. We must highlight the mentality of the team and the character of the players,” he told the press.
“We have a quality team, but we lack [personnel in certain] positions, competition. With the injuries we have and the congested fixture list, I would rate this team ten [out of ten].
“The team’s confidence has risen, we are concentrating better than before. We have gained pride from coming from behind.”
Martin Braithwaite, Sergino Dest and Miralem Pjanic have been ruled out through injury, along with Ronald Araujo.
“The absences are because some players are not physically well and I prefer to take those who are one hundred percent,” he said.
“This is not the time to take more risks. We already know that we are missing many players, eight or nine, but there is a solution for any problem.
“If we put De Jong as a central defender, we are missing something in midfield, but we also have to decide based on the tactics of the game.
“Whenever we can, it is better to choose players who are used to playing in that position.”
Speaking on Wednesday’s opponents Sevilla, Koeman is well aware of the threat they pose.
“It’s a two-legged tie and it’s important to get a good result tomorrow,” he said. “We know them well and it’ll be a great game.
“They are a physical team, well organised, with individual quality. That’s why they are high up in the table and in the Copa del Rey semis.
“They have one of the most complete squads. We have to be very good on the ball to get out of their press. At our level, we can inflict some damage.
“I always like to play the first leg away, it does not matter whether it is with or without fans. In just a few days we will have three games against Sevilla and they will be exciting because they are a very demanding opponent.”
The latest front cover of France Football displayed an edited image of Leo Messi wearing a Paris Saint-Germain shirt, something which didn’t please Koeman. But he also took exception to comments from Lyon boss Rudi Garcia criticising Barcelona for resorting to similar tactics that PSG are performing with Messi for Memphis Depay.
“I don’t know why they do it,” he responded. “If they want to talk about Leo let them do it, but now the coach of Lyon [Rudi Garcia] comes out, it seems he wants to have more prominence in the press,” he said.
“For me It’s not important. What we have to do is prepare for the games against Sevilla and Alaves, and on Tuesday we will play the Champions League [first leg] against PSG and we’ll see.”