Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman impressed by “aggressive” Rayo Vallecano

Barcelona travel to the Spanish capital tomorrow evening to lock horns with Rayo Vallecano at Vallecas in La Liga.

Ronald Koeman’s men are looking to bounce back from Sunday’s 2-1 defeat in El Clasico to Real Madrid, and go into the game sitting ninth in the league table.

Rayo, despite earning promotion from Segunda by the skin of their teeth last year, are enjoying a fine season. They’re seventh in La Liga and lost a 3-2 thriller at Real Betis last weekend.

Frenkie de Jong

Barcelona last faced Rayo in the Copa del Rey last season, winning 2-1 at Vallecas. Fran Garcia fired the hosts into the lead in the 63rd minute, only for a certain Lionel Messi to equalise six minutes later. Frenkie de Jong won it in the 80th minute.

Koeman, speaking in his pre-match press conference in comments carried by Marca, touched upon the danger Rayo pose as well the injury crisis Barcelona are enduring. He also touched on Ousmane Dembele’s contractual situation.

Radamel Falcao

“They’re a team that’s come up at the last minute,” Koeman said. “But they’re having a great season so far. They’re aggressive. We have the memory of the Copa match, and while we expect a difficult game we have a good chance of winning.

“We’re concerned about injuries. We’re trying to analyse the situation so that the players can improve. Pedri might be out for a little longer, and that’s a concern. That’s why we haven’t put a date on him, Dembele or [Ronald] Araujo. We talk about it every day and we know exactly how things are.

“The important things is that we want [Dembele] to stay. He’s important and he has quality, so the objective is to get him to renew. Having said that, if he doesn’t want to renew we have to discuss, as a club, what the best way to deal with it is. We haven’t yet talked about our strategy if he doesn’t renew.”

Tags Barcelona La Liga Rayo Vallecano Ronald Koeman