Ahead of Saturday’s Clasico, the Dutchman highlighted that Los Blancos are in the Champions League quarter-finals, with one foot in the semi-finals after a 3-1 win over Liverpool midweek, just three points behind the top spot in LaLiga.
Barcelona ar fighting to win the Clasico and LaLiga title
Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman believes that some of the criticism that Real Madrid received was unwarranted. Ahead of Saturday’s Clasico, the Dutchman highlighted that Los Blancos are in the Champions League quarter-finals, with one foot in the semi-finals after a 3-1 win over Liverpool midweek, just three points behind the top spot in LaLiga. “A Clasico is a different game. Barcelona are doing well, we are running well, we are fighting to win,” Koeman said during Friday’s pre-Clasico press conference. “Madrid has too much criticism; they are in the Champions League and fighting for the LaLiga. I am not a supporter of the people who criticised them. They have great players, and it is a great match. Both teams know the importance of winning.”
The team need the best Messi and the best Barcelona to win
Koeman doesn’t think Saturday’s match will directly impact the destination of the LaLiga title. “The result is not decisive because after tomorrow’s game, we still have a lot of games to play, and it is difficult for any team to win all their matches,” explained Koeman. “The team that wins Clasico will have an important moral impetus for development”. Reflecting on the first Clasico between the two sides that Los Blancos won 3-1 at the Camp Nou, Koeman believes Barcelona have improved a lot since then. “We were better in the first Clasico, especially before half time, then, of course, we lost the game in the second half,” he said. “The VAR, with that penalty, had an impact on the result, but it is not true that we were bad at that time, and now we are much better.”
“The team had chances all season. We improved our finishing, in defence, the system that we changed during the game. We don’t have to go crazy because it is Madrid and we have to play our game, do our things”. It is clear that Lionel Messi will play an essential role if Barcelona are to come away from the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano with a positive result. Still, the Dutch coach expects to see the rest of his players at their best. “We need the best Messi to win, but we need the best Barcelona.”