FC Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman has said that the opposite teams are playing bold because the La Liga giants are without star player Lionel Messi, who recently joined Paris St Germain following 21 years at the club.
After Barcelona was held 1-1 away to Athletic Bilbao on Saturday (August 21), Koeman was quizzed about the sport and therefore the absence of Messi.
During the match, a late strike from Memphis Depay cancelled out Inigo Martinez’s header to earn Barca some extent . The coach said that “opponents are always more scared when Messi is around”.
“I do not like to stay talking about an equivalent thing but we’re talking about the simplest player within the world and opponents are always more scared when Messi is around,” Koeman told reporters.
“It’s also an equivalent for us, if you provides a pass to Messi, he normally doesn’t lose the ball. you’ll feel that he’s not here any longer . We all realize it but we will not change it.”
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“But I even have to spotlight the attitude we showed after we went behind. i feel the draw is fair because if you play like we did at a ground like this you’re always getting to run into trouble. I even have no complaints about the result.”
Regarding the match, Koeman said, “I think we’ve to spotlight the attitude we showed especially after we went behind 1-0. And additionally, we had chances to win the match.”
He added, “I think the draw is fair because we saw an Athletic who played at a top level. And if you play like we did at a troublesome ground like this, you cannot complain about the result.”
(with inputs from agencies)