It was always going to be difficult for Barcelona to bounce back from their disappointing Supercopa de Espana defeat to Athletic Bilbao, but Ronald Koeman put on a brave face in his pre-match conference ahead of his team’s trip to Cornella in the Copa del Rey tomorrow evening.
The Blaugrana were twice ahead against Athletic through goals from Antoine Griezmann, only to concede an equaliser in the 90th minute and then lose the game in extra-time.
They face Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 of the latter, with their sporting director Leonardo making some interesting comments about the possibility of signing Messi in recent days that could be interpreted as a means of destabilising a Barcelona camp on uncertain footing.
The Dutch coach also admitted that he found the Supercopa defeat difficult to swallow, but that he and his players have refocused. “We were screwed after the game and the day after,” he said.
“It’s normal, and it had to be like that given we were so close and they only drew level in the last minute. But there’s no more time to be down – we’re on the right track, especially in La Liga.”
Barcelona will be without Messi for the game against Cornella and the upcoming clash with Elche, but Koeman revealed he’s in good form. “Leo has trained with a lot of desire, I haven’t seen anything strange with him.
“Everyone was sad about the result of the final, but we kept going and we’re on the path of improvement. Our game, defensively, we have to improve. Leo is very involved.
“He’s trained without problems, and he’s recovered well from playing 120 minutes. It’s good for when he returns to play after his suspension.”