Barcelona formed a 4-2-3-1 formation, a system rarely used by the club in the past, with the entire starting side cut off at a half time.

Koeman won his first match with Barcelona

Ronald Koeman, as Barcelona head coach, won a 3-1 friendly over Gimnastic de Tarragona on Saturday. After Ousmane Dembele scored in the fifth minute, penalties from Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho guided Koeman’s side to a comfortable victory. Barcelona formed a 4-2-3-1 formation. The system rarely used by the club in the past, with the entire starting side, cut off at a half time. Sergio Busquets and Carles Alena began the game as holding midfielders before being replaced by Frenkie de Jong and Riqui Puig, with Koeman then emphasizing that having two players in this role would allow the squad to attack with more flexibly.

 

“It may be contrasting and somewhat more defensive than what has been seen in recent years, but the goal is to move the ball, hold on to it and find space to play between the lines, and the midfielders behind the opponents,” said Koeman after the match.

Barca need physical training and work more on the tactical side

“I think this squad can do it because we have midfielders to play like that. Most importantly, fortunately, there were no injuries. Everyone has played 45 minutes. There were moments of good intensity. There is always room for improvement, but we are happy. Barca have been here for two weeks, and we have two more to go. They must already play because this is not a normal preseason. We only have four weeks, not six. It isn’t easy. What we need is to do now is physical training and work more on the tactical side in the next two weeks”. After his failed attempt to leave Barca, Messi started the match as captain and seemed happy to return on the pitch following so much off-field drama.

While Messi played in a friendly at Johan Cruyff Stadium, Luis Suarez and Arturo Vidal were notable omissions with both players over Barcelona’s possible departure in recent weeks. Suarez was thought to be close to joining Juventus, while Vidal could also go to Serie A with Inter, who are reportedly aiming to bring the midfielder to Milan. Barcelona will play another preseason friendly against Girona on Wednesday before starting their LaLiga season against Villarreal on September 26.