NEWS | 24/09/2021"We’re up against a side with great quality and experience and we’ll have to be at our best to win", said the coach.
"We have to improve on the defensive side of things. At this stage of the season, there’s always something that has to be improved. We’ve focussed more on the defensive side because we have more quality up front. Defensively, we have to work together. Against Mallorca we defended more aggressively and we have to do this in the rest of the games. We need to be more aggressive when we don’t have the ball”.
"Training on the pitch isn’t possible because you need intensity and you can't do that in training when you play games every three days. We do it with videos. We prepare videos so that the players can analyse the things they’ve done well and badly and improve on them. You can also do a good job with videos".
"The players have been doing really well. We’re been focussing a lot on defending because it’s what we needed to do most. On the attacking side, we’ve tried to position the players with the ball, but what it’s more down to is the quality and creativity of the forwards, and the squad is certainly full of that".
"The most important thing is that Hazard is training well and has no injury problems. He recovered well after the Valencia game. I can’t guarantee he’ll play every game, even if he’s 100% fit, in the same way for any other player in the squad. The most important thing is that he’s ok".
Benzema and the Ballon d’Or
"He deserves to be on the list of nominees for the Ballon d’Or because of what he’s been doing and what he did last season. He still has time to win it and I don’t think this season will be his last chance. He’s a bit like good wine, he gets better with age”.
Fixture schedule and rotation
"It’s something that I have to manage well. It’s by no means easy to do. You have to rest a player and hope that the substitute does well and you have to put the player who does well on the bench. These are small details that I have to think about”.
“I have to field a team that will win games, bearing in minds these aspects. The players who have not played, have a higher possibility of featuring in the next game because they’ll be fresher".
“He was important for us before the last game, even though he hadn’t played much. He did really well against Mallorca. He showed his quality and ability to play for the team in a different position. He’s a really important player for us”.
Situation at Barça
“I watch the games. I like football but I’m not happy if a team is having a bad time, whether that’s Barça or any other team. I’m just focussed on my team. I like all the games and that’s all there is to it”.
Courtois and goalkeeper rotation
“The goalkeeper is a different position, but we have a young player, who’s very strong and confident. The idea is to play him. Lunin deserves to play and he’ll play soon”.
Assessment of team
“It’s too early to make an assessment. I’ll do so at the end of the season. That’s the objective. Things are going well for us at the moment. But we’ll have difficult times and we have to be prepared for them”.
Adapting to modern football
“Football has evolved greatly due to the physical aspect more than the technical or tactical side. The intensity of the games is much higher. There’s not much new about the game tactically. Now teams try to play more directly, press higher up and also hit the opposition on the counter attack. Things have evolved more physically, not so much individually, but collectively. There’s more intensity, especially without the ball”.
Game against Mallorca
“We were satisfied with the win but we have to bear in mind that we took such an early lead. It was a big scoreline. Up to 4-1, it was still very competitive, but we played much better compared to the Valencia game”.
The importance of Alaba
“His position in the defensive line depends on the pressure. It could be further forward and Alaba is very good at that. But if there’s no pressure on the ball then it’s a risk and we have to defend as a deeper block. We’d like to have the line somewhere in the middle of the pitch, but that’s not always possible”.