Koeman, during the duel against Elche.Enric Fontcuberta / EFE
This time Koeman did stay to wait and congratulate his players for their dedication (also for the victory), a custom that he broke for the first time in the last match against Cádiz , a tie that angered him beautifully. So much so that he demanded the veterans to offer a boost of energy and guide the young people. “The energy is always there. But those of us who have been here for the longest time, we have to make young people feel more comfortable and learn concepts of playing at Barça. Although we must assume that the level has been equalized and we must always play to the maximum to win. These are difficult moments, but we have to be more united than ever ”, resolved Jordi Alba.
It happened that Koeman's message did not get through at the beginning, Barça drowsy and little fine in connections, far from playing by heart with the many rotations of the lineup against an overly defensive Elche. "It is a season with many games and we need all the players motivated and prepared for when the coach considers it necessary to line them up, it is important to refresh the team in all lines for what is to come", argued Alfred Schreuder, Koeman's second. “We have decided to put freshness in the team. You can tell that someone is tired and thank goodness that in the second we put more energy, "added the Barça coach. Especially by Messi , who scored two goals to be the Pichichi (18 networks), now with two goals ahead of Luis Suárez (Atlético Madrid). "We have not had that many chances either, but Leo's two goals have given us peace of mind," said Alba. “I am very happy to give him two assists. I always like to accompany Leo ”, added Braithwaite . Koeman was clear: “If we can find Leo between the lines there is a lot of danger. That is what has been seen in the second half. ”
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But in the first, nothing worked. “Our game has been slow, the defense was far behind and we weren't together… I'm very happy with the second half, but not with the first 45 minutes,” reflected Koeman. Although he qualified: “It was not because of the attitude. We were involved from the beginning, but sometimes the opposite does not let you things go the way you want. We are not machines but humans. But the team has shown its personality and enthusiasm in the second half ”. Alba gave the key: "We have put in the first and that has given us security and has caused more spaces than if you go zero to zero."
A victory that keeps Barça for the LaLiga fight. "We needed to win after the previous two games," agreed Koeman. Jordi Alba thought the same: “On a mental level it helps us a lot. The draw the other day was a hard blow after the defeat in the Champions League against PSG ”. And Braithwaite added: "We were sad with the latest results, but this victory has to make us win and win."