"Klopp discredited Madrid"

Koeman's praise for Madrid: "I think they have had too much criticism." And he drops the ownership of Piqué: "Experienced players are important in these games."


Ronald Koeman spoke at the press conference prior to the Classic that will be played this Saturday at the Estadio di Stéfano in Valdebebas. These were the Dutchman's impressions in the preview of the match against Madrid after a quiet week but in which the Catalans did not return with the best sensations after the break.

How does the team arrive, at the best time?

We have achieved good results and we are confident. It's a great game against a team that has improved throughout the season. We are fighting for the maximum. And the maximum for both teams is to win LaLiga. And that's why tomorrow's game is important.

Does LaLiga go through winning the Classic?

The result will not be decisive because after tomorrow's game there will be many days left in which any team will have a difficult time winning every game. But it is a moment in which whoever wins will give an important moral blow to continue.

One of the novelties on the list is Piqué, who has a medical discharge. Can you be the owner, will there be risks?

Sergi Roberto and Piqué are important to the team because of their personality. We know that they lack the rhythm of matches but physically they are well and excited. It is important to have almost all the players available for tomorrow's game.

Klopp said that for footballers it is difficult because they think they are playing in a training field. Does it affect?

That is a bit of discrediting a big club like Madrid. They have taken the moment to do hours in their stadium and I think it was well done. For any player, the difficult thing is to play without an audience. They are used to playing in that field and the rivals have to play there. The grass will be fine and this is not an important issue for me.

Insisting on Piqué, do you prefer to play with him even though he is not 100% due to his experience in games like this?

For me, it depends on the timing of the game. In principle, for me, any player has to be physically and mentally perfect to play. But there are players who, due to their personality, are important in this type of game. My job is to find the best eleven to have a positive result.

Who is the best for this match?

A Classic is different from the others. Barça is fine. He has an important career, with many points. We are fighting to win and that is positive. And Madrid is Madrid. I think they have had too many criticisms but they are alive in the Champions League and fighting LaLiga. Madrid have a great coach, impressive players and it is an interesting game. I do not share nor am I in favor of the criticism they have received. Physically and mentally, they have a chance of winning the game.

What does Madrid expect tomorrow, with three centrals or with four behind?

They have played with different systems and we have to wait. Our job is to prepare the team and know what we have to do when we have the ball and when not. And know how we have to press play with the system you play.

He has been repeating the lineup for four years but now De Jong could jump to the center of the field. Do you know what it will do?

I think the great thing about Frenkie de Jong is that he can play in different positions. He contributes a lot if he plays central because we can come out better as a central defender. It can also reach the opposite area. In both positions he contributes a lot. I have to talk to the players. There is talk for tomorrow but, I repeat, you can vary your position.

Have you seen that the team has recovered the good feelings that it did not give against Valladolid?

The issue of the selections could influence things of the team. If this week we have had the tranquility of being together, talking and resting. Because now it is very important to have energy and freshness in the team to face an exciting League final. It is impressive that the top three teams can win the championship. It will be a fight in every game, but the other day Valladolid showed that there are no easy games and that if you are not well you can always have difficult days.

Zidane will not be able to play with Ramos or Varane. How important is these casualties?

For them they have significant casualties. We have them too. Ansu, Coutinho ... But Ramos and Varane are two very good center-backs and one of those two is their captain, who has a lot of personality and that is important. But in the game against Liverpool they showed that they could fulfill in those positions of Varane and Ramos.

Messi will play his 45th Classic. Do you think tomorrow will be decisive?

Hopefully Leo will be decisive for us tomorrow because we need the best Messi and the best Barça. To win tomorrow you have to be perfect. For our attacks and our movements, we need Leo, of course.

Are you at the point that Barça wanted?

In some respects, the team has improved. But I remember that in the first Clásico we were better and before the break we were able to get ahead. But then we lost the match in the second half. The penalty influenced the first round, with the VAR. We have improved things but at that time we were not bad. Of course, now we are better. We have improved in effectiveness, in defense. We can move our system and play with four behind ... The team has gotten in shape and we have to put energy. We must not go crazy to play against Madrid, we have to be ourselves and play as we have done lately.

How important is dialing first?

That shows that both of us and Madrid know how to play with the ball. When you go behind, the rivals are closer. The other day I read that we have scored a lot of goals in the last part of the games. But for me it is not luck. If you are strong in the last minutes, you think you can dial.

Do you understand that changes have to be made when you play against Madrid? Cruyff always did.

You always analyze the rival, what is their quality and which players should not have spaces to attack. Not having turnovers is important because Madrid plays well on the counterattack. We must not change our ideas because we play against Madrid, we have to be ourselves.

What do you expect from Dembélé?

Has quality, speed, handles both legs well. It has to be effective and your one-on-one can be vital. It is important and the important ones have to be there tomorrow.

Gil Manzano is going to referee. Has the referee been talked about too much?

Sometimes we talk too much about this topic. Any referee who whistles is honest and whistles what he sees. And it has the help of the VAR. It doesn't matter much to me either. Like Mateu, this is a very good referee. We, like Barça, have to be aware of ourselves, not of the referee.

Would you like Ramos to continue in Madrid?

The best thing for our League is that the best players stay until the last minute they can. Messi cannot be compared to Ramos, but the two players have been extremely important for their teams. And hopefully Ramos continues with Madrid and Messi with us.

What have you done well to get to this stage of the season well?

At the beginning, a coach needs time to develop his team because we made changes. You have to be patient. And we have been changing things. For example the system. The confidence of the team is higher than at the beginning. The important thing is that we have worked together longer and we also have many young players who need time.

Real Madrid have players with a lot of experience. Do you think it could be key, would you sign the tie?

The most important thing in this type of game is to have experienced players. Young people have to play these games too, because they have to learn. If they don't play, they will never catch it. But they need help from veterans. That is the most important thing.

Photos from as.com

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