Sunday, October 2

“We risk our future in the Champions League”

  • “This team is there to compete, but you cannot demand to win the Champions League,” says the coach, who has been dismissed from the suspended Eric García

  • “Ansu? They are close to renewing. It is very important news because he is a young man who has to shape the future of this club,” he reveals

Peace of mind is over for Ronald Koeman. It has barely lasted two days. The victory against Valencia gave him the calm that he has not had in recent weeks. Now, that calm is transformed into restlessness because this Wednesday afternoon he attends a final exam in the Champions League-

After chaining two cruel defeats (0-3 at the Camp Nou against Bayern and 3-0 at Benfica in Lisbon), Barça need to win, yes or yes, at Dinamo Kiev (6:45 pm) to keep the door open to arrive to the European round of 16.

“We are risking our future in the Champions League”, the Barça coach has confessed. “After losing two games, we have to win. There is nothing else,” he added, aware of the delicate situation (“yes, it is a decisive game”) in which Barça has gotten into Europe due to that horrible start.

There is no margin for error whatsoever. The team of Koeman life in Europe has become very complicated. He is on the ledge, with serious risk of falling after a disastrous start to the Champions League. The coach, at least, has been recovering essential pieces in his attack like Ansu Fati, which has made him enter a new dimension.

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The classic with Madrid is just around the corner. It will be on Sunday 24, also at the Camp Nou (4.15pm). But Dinamo’s is the game right now. The great game for Barça. “I think Dinamo is a better team now than they were last season,” Koeman said, indicating that “there is no other choice but to win.”

Because if Barça does not win, not only does it have a sporting impact to disappear from the European elite if it does not pass the first phase, but it also has a huge economic impact on the club’s weakened accounts that have budgeted for reaching the quarterfinals. . “This team is ready to compete, but you cannot demand to win the Champions League,” said the coach, indicating that now “it is on the right track.”

Six years without a title

In that sense, Barça has not kissed the Champions League since 2015. He has not even played a final having, as he had in his day, Messi-Neymar-Suárez (2016-2017) or then Messi-Suárez (2018) or even with Messi-Suárez-Griezmann (2019 and 2020). There have been many years in which the Barça team does not compete with the big European clubs, leaving Rome, Anfield and Lisbon as proof of this decline.

“The big teams have improved a lot and Barça in these four years has lowered their level. I don’t know why, I can only say how long I’ve been,” Koeman stressed. “There are teams that have balance in their squad, with a bench of 23 international players and the economic situation is much better than ours. Everything influences this,” the coach recalled.

The victory against Valencia acted as a balm for a team that plays everything in Europe just as it approaches the third day. He has not scored a single goal in the Champions League, in addition to receiving six against, which reveals his tremendous defensive weakness. “No, it is not a problem of experience,” Koeman commented.

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“There are very experienced players and the youngsters, despite their age, have played many important games,” said the coach, happy that after Pedri’s renewal, Ansu’s is about to take place. “They are close to renewing. It is very important news, he is a young, high-quality player who has to shape the future of this club,” added Koeman.

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