The Blaugrana have risen to third in La Liga after a good run of form underlined by a strong week that saw them win three games away from home on the bounce. Their collective form has been elevated by Lionel Messi, who looks to really be enjoying his football for the first time this season.
They face La Real, who started like lightning but have fallen significantly in the standings. Initially touted as title contenders, they’ve now failed to win in 12 matches. For the Dutch coach, however, they’re still on a generally upward trajectory.
“They’re strong opposition,” Koeman said in comments carried by Mundo Deportivo. “They want to push on and they have a coach with very clear ideas. It will be an interesting game because we both want to play.”
The Barcelona coach said that he believed victory in the Supercopa, with Real Madrid and Athletic Club Bilbao competing in the other semi-final, could serve as a real statement of intent from his slow-starting charges and assign silverware to what’s been a recent upturn in form.
“All four teams that participate in the semi-finals have the mentality to win it,” Koeman said. “We do, and we want to continue with the level of performance we’ve given lately. We’re growing in all aspects and this is a good opportunity to show we’re on the right track.
“The team is better, with more players breaking forward from midfield coupled with players in the final third with the quality to do damage,” Koeman said. “Defensively we are good and we have gained confidence in the last few games.”