15 Feb No team higher than us proper now
Ronald Koeman has mentioned he would not consider there’s a team in higher type than his Barcelona facet going into Tuesday’s Champions League sport towards Paris Saint-Germain.
Barca beat Alaves 5-1 on Saturday and welcome PSG to Camp Nou for the primary leg of their round-of-16 tie on the again of a seven-game profitable run in La Liga, though they did lose to Sevilla within the first leg of their Copa del Rey semifinal final week.
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Koeman has all the time performed down Barca’s possibilities of success this season, typically referring to a transition 12 months, however optimism has grown on the again of performances for the reason that flip of the 12 months.
“I do not see different teams significantly better than Barcelona in the mean time,” he mentioned in a information convention on Monday.
“However I do not suppose it’s good if you’re altering quite a lot of issues within the team and enjoying with younger gamers to anticipate to win the Champions League. That is not good.
“We’ve got an excellent team, although. The team is doing higher and enjoying at a excessive stage. They’re at a excessive stage bodily, too. And we now have improbable gamers, which implies we are able to beat everybody and that is what we wish to present by competing with the most effective teams in Europe.”
Barca are lacking a quartet of key gamers for the PSG sport — Sergi Roberto, Ronald Araujo, Ansu Fati and Philippe Coutinho — however may welcome again Gerard Pique forward of schedule.
The defender has been out of motion with a knee drawback since December however returned to coaching final week and Koeman will depart it as late as potential earlier than making a choice on his health.
In the meantime, PSG can be with out the injured Neymar, with the emphasis, subsequently, falling on Kylian Mbappe to assist them of their quest to win at Camp Nou for the primary time ever.
“It’s not only a duel between [Lionel] Messi and Mbappe,” Koeman added. “It’s a sport between two teams and a type of teams has the most effective participant on the earth, Messi, on their facet. We want him in his greatest type for the tie.
“It’s the similar for Paris with Mbappe, who’s a extremely good, fast participant, who could make it exhausting for our defence. However it’s good, these gamers are to be loved as a football fan.”
Messi, 33, has been linked with a transfer to PSG in the summertime when his contract expires. The French membership’s sporting director, Leonardo, and several other gamers have all spoken overtly about their want to signal the Argentina worldwide if potential.
“They have not destabilised us; I do not know if that was the intention from them when talking about Leo,” Koeman mentioned.
Defender Jordi Alba mentioned the hypothesis surrounding Messi’s future has not affected the dressing room and added that the Barca captain stays dedicated to the membership.
“Even when I did know for positive what Leo was going to do, I would not say overtly!” Alba mentioned. “He has already mentioned what his intention is [to wait until the end of the season].
“He’ll make the choice he has to make however proper now he’s dedicated to Barcelona, needs to have an amazing season and from there I hope we are able to win a trophy after which Leo will resolve.
“I’m positive the choice he makes can be properly thought out and the most effective one for him. I hope he stays for a few years however it’s a resolution for Leo and we should respect no matter he decides. However proper now he’s centered on Barcelona.”