Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman has claimed that his team can improve despite the departure of Lionel Messi in the summer.
In an interview with Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo, Ronald Koeman has opened up on the departure of Lionel Messi and how Barcelona could fare following the exit of their greatest ever player. And the Dutch tactician was bullish about his team’s prospects in the near future.
For years, Lionel Messi was a name synonymous with Barcelona. So much so, that it was hard to envision the Catalan giants ever being in a situation wherein he would no longer be at the club before the end of his playing days.
However, the dreaded situation did arrive for Barcelona last month, as it was announced that they would not be able to renew terms with their captain. Messi has since joined Paris Saint-Germain, even making his debut for the French giants ahead of the international break.
Now, in an interview with Mundo Deportivo, Ronaldo Koeman has been quizzed about how Barcelona would fare in the post Messi era. And the Barcelona head coach claimed that his team can improve despite Messi’s departure.
Koeman said, “From the first moment we heard the news that he was not renewing, it was a blow for everyone, including me because you lose the best in the world, you lose 30 goals or more per season and his assists, the opposition is afraid if he plays … and many more things that we have lost. It took a couple of days to recover but there is no choice but to turn the page and build things more as a team, giving more importance to the strategy to achieve the number of goals we need to win.”
Koeman then explained that Messi’s exit will make his team play differently, saying, “It does not force us to play differently tactically but there are things without the ball in which the team can improve. We will no longer have the individual quality of Leo, but in pressing, in joining the team is better now.”
Koeman’s comments could ring true, although it remains to be seen if Koeman can create a team atmosphere that can pave the way for success at Barcelona. The general feeling evoked from Messi’s departure is that of bafflement, but with Koeman bullish, Barcelona fans will hope for better days ahead.