The visitors were overwhelmed by absences and spent the last 10 minutes playing with ten men than Barca, but Dembele took a late goal to get the Catalans over the line.
Barcelona missed a lot in the 1st half
Ronald Koeman admitted that his Barcelona side weren’t quite at their best condition as they beat Real Valladolid 1-0 on Monday night thanks to a late strike from Ousmane Dembele. The visitors were overwhelmed by absences and spent the last 10 minutes playing with ten men than Barca, but Dembele took a late goal to get the Catalans over the line. “We missed a lot in the first half,” Koeman said after the match. “We didn’t press them very well. I saw a slow, tired Barcelona right from the start. We had no control over the game. So we changed the system and improved it in the second half. It was a difficult match, and we were some way off. Valladolid did a good job in defence, but you have to know how to suffer, and I think Barca deserved to win.”
The team showed that they could win without playing well
Despite the complications, the Dutchman was glad to see his side win without being in the best condition. “The team showed that they are capable of winning,” said Koeman. “You have to have freshness in the squad. I didn’t see it, and maybe it’s because of the international duties, but we can win. At times you are lucky, and others are unlucky. The team’s mentality has to be highlighted because they have not stopped looking for three points. We were a little lucky at the end of the match. But I was calm, and I was more worried in the 1st half because I saw a completely different Barcelona compared to the last games. The team improved in the second half and created chances. They showed that they could win without playing well.”
Dembele is finally enjoying a trouble-free run at Camp Nou and continues to prove his importance to the team. “He’s an important player,” The coach said of the Frenchman. “Ousmane has shown that with his performance and goal, he gave us the three points. He had a perfect season, and he improved a lot. Regularity has been the key for him.” Refusing to get involved in commenting on countless controversial decisions made, including the decision that sent Real Valladolid down to 10 men and another that led to the winning goal, Kooman turned his attention to Clasico next week against Real Madrid. “It’s always an important match, “said Koeman. “Especially now, given the situation. A good result would be important for the title race.”