Barcelona travel to the Basque country tomorrow evening to lock horns with Real Sociedad, a side they’ve already faced twice this season in La Liga and the Supercopa de Espana. Barcelona are in a good moment despite their elimination from the Champions League by Paris Saint-Germain last week.
Joan Laporta’s election as president has engendered positive feeling at the Catalan club, with Laporta serving as in many ways a living reminder of the glorious success Barcelona achieved under Frank Rijkaard and Pep Guardiola in the 2000s. His election has been coupled with Ronald Koeman’s team showing evidence of tangible process on the pitch, into the final of the Copa del Rey and well in the fight for La Liga.
The Blaugrana sit four points behind faltering league leaders Atletico Madrid and two points clear of Real Madrid in third, having won four games on the bounce. They’re the form team at the moment, and would hope that victory over Athletic Club in the final of the Copa down in Seville next month could similarly springboard them to success in La Liga.
“It’s the third match against them,” Koeman said in his pre-match press conference in comments carried by Marca. “It’s a strong team, one of the best in La Liga. They want to play, build and pressure the opposition. These are interesting encounters in many aspects. It will be a difficult game.”
Koeman was also asked about Laporta, as well as Barcelona’s prospects of achieving a double. “It’s important for the club that there’s a president and a future,” he said. “It’s important to have the tranquility of having a face to the club. But nothing’s changed for us, in the sense that we still have to play. But for the club it’s important to have Laporta as president.
“I don’t like talking about a double. This is something that can change very quickly. A while ago we were bad. We have to keep working, taking things game-by-game. We’re four points behind and the calendar is complicated. In the Copa final, there’s a strong opponent. There’s still time to win things, but we have to go game-by-game. Right now we’re thinking about tomorrow.”