Barcelona travelled to Budapest to face Ferencvaros in quite a comfortable position, having won four out of four and sitting pretty at the top of their group.
Ronald Koeman actually left behind Lionel Messi, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Philippe Coutinho to rest before they face Cadiz this coming weekend, offering an opportunity for some of the Blaugrana’s lesser lights to shine in the Champions League.
His decision was a good one. Barcelona eased to a 3-0 victory over their Hungarian hosts thanks to a scintillating first-half performance where they scored three quick-fire goals through Antoine Griezmann, Martin Braithwaite and Ousmane Dembele.
“We had a great first half with great football,” Koeman said in comments after the game carried by Marca.
“We created opportunities, we scored excellent goals, we played with a great rhythm. I’m very happy and I hope we continue this streak in La Liga.”
Next up in the Champions League is a clash with Juventus which, if they avoid defeat, will see them win the group. Koeman is intent on winning every game in which his team partakes, but to maintain this mentality he’s not looking beyond Cadiz.
“The most important thing was to advance to the next phase, but we want to win and finish first,” he said. “We want 18 points. But first we have to play against Cadiz.
“We want to win every game in every tournament. In the Champions League we have shown how hungry we are.”
Koeman also took the opportunity to praise the strength-in-depth of his squad and the options he has available to him.
“We have a good squad and that is why we have been able to rest some players,” he said. “Those who are playing are showing that they have a place here.”
Finally, Koeman was asked about Antoine Griezmann, who’s been in fine form recently after a shaky start to the season.
The Dutchman joked that Jorge Valdano, who interviewed Griezmann a couple of weeks back, will need to be a regular at Barcelona’s Ciutat Esportiva for the effect he’s had on Griezmann.
“Jorge Valdano is going to have to come every week,” he said.
“It’s always a matter of confidence for a player. He’s worked to the maximum to improve his game and his effectiveness for the team, and now the goals are coming. He knows his quality and I hope he continues like this.”
Featured image courtesy of Barca Blaugranes.