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Koeman: The atmosphere in the dressing room is good, I don't see any problem

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman has been speaking to the press ahead of his side's matach against league leaders Real Sociedad on Wednesday at the Camp Nou.

The Dutchman was keen to dispel any rumours about problems behind the scenes, insisting that his players are very united at present.

"I see a good atmosphere in the squad, in training and matches. I don't see any problems between the players," said Koeman during his pre-match press conference.

"Yesterday they threw a Christmas party after training. There was a great atmosphere and drink flowing."

The clash on Wednesday is a huge one for both sides and Koeman spoke positively about the visiting side and expects a good match.

"They are a good team. You can tell they've been playing together for a few years," said Koeman.

"I like how they play. I'm aware we'll have to play well, with confidence and possession to cause them problems.

"I think it will be an open match, last year it was open. Both teams want to have the ball and press so I expect a nice, open game."

The game is all the more important for Koeman's side as, by his own admission, the season hasn't gotten off to the best of starts.

"Overall we cannot be happy with our record in the league. We've lost where we cannot do so, but you have to look at the team, how they work," said Koeman.

"The other day we got a very important result in a difficult match. There were things missing but our attitude was good.

"We know our situation: we need to win our remaining matches. We need to have character in tomrrow's match."

One of the players Koeman will be looking to to help Barcelona climb the table is Frenkie de Jong.

"He has always been a player with responsability for build-up play, but he has other qualities to be more attacking as he is very fast with the ball and can break through lines with the ball," said Koeman.

"We're working on that with him. We want him to be more important in the final third."

Meanwhile, Koeman also gave an update on the injury situations of Ousmane Dembele and Ansu Fati.

"[Dembele] is training separately from the group, he's working on his own and I can't put a date on it. I hope it's soon as he's a player we need," said Koeman.

"It's hard to say when [Ansu Fati] might be back. He's working hard every day at the club's facilities to get better, but it depends how he progresses. We can't take any risks, especially because of his age, there's plenty of time."

The Dutch coach also spoke about three players who were unused subs in the win over Levante at the weekend: Miralem Pjanic and youngsters Riqui Puig and Oscar Mingueza.

"[Pjanic and I] spoke last week about what needs to improve, I like his attitude, it wouldn't be good if he was happy. Let him be unhappy and work hard to get opportunities to play," said Koeman.

"Right now [Mingueza] is a first team player, he trains with us, he had some injury issues, but he is providing competition for the centre backs. He is a young player with a future in this team."

"There's always interest [in Puig] from the press because he's homegrown, but we're not talking about just one player not getting minutes, there's many. We are a strong squad and only 11 can play, based on training and attitude."

One player certain to play and who may be especially hungry for goals is Lionel Messi, who needs just two goals to beat Pele's world record of 643 goals with a single club.

"They are impressive figures. I don't think this club will have such an effective player again," said Koeman.

"Our attack depends a lot on Leo. I don't know how many hat-tricks he's scored...it's incredible."

Source: Marca / C. Navarro

 

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