Getty Sergino Dest celebrates with Antoine Griezmann
Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman offered his backing to duo Sergino Dest and Antoine Griezmann ahead of his team’s La Liga clash at Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday.
Dest only arrived at Barcelona from Ajax in October but has become a regular in the team since his arrival, although Koeman has been short of options with Sergi Roberto currently out injured.
Koeman spoke about the United States international at his pre-match press conference and said he was pleased with his performances and the way he’s adapted to the club so far.
It seems he’s had a couple of ups and downs during games. He started off strongly, but I think that’s a lot to do with his age. He’s 19, he’s come to a big club and players need time to adapt.
Players have to make some mistakes and correct them and work on their concentration, their focus, on being aggressive in defense and that’s one of his big qualities. I’m not disappointed at all about him having ups and downs. He’s a young player, that’s completely normal.
Dest has made 18 appearances for Barcelona in all competitions following his move to the Camp Nou and enjoyed a debut goal in the Champions League win over Dynamo Kiev back in November.
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Koeman Happy With Griezmann
The Dutch coach also spoke about Antoine Griezmann who cut a dejected figure after being left out of the starting XI last time out against Huesca. The France international has only scored three times in La Liga in 2020-21, and Koeman spoke about the selection issues he has in attack.
I’ve spoken with him a lot. I really like him. He’s really open. He likes to talk, he likes to talk about the games and if we played with three midfielders we have to find the best formulas with the forwards. We have Leo, we have Dembele who’s been getting better physically, so it’s important because he’s a player who gives us depth in attack. Bit I have to choose, there are many games and you can’t play everyone.
It remains to be seen if Griezmann will be recalled against Athletic or if Koeman will continue with Martin Braithwaite up front instead alongside Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele.
Koeman on Athletic Test
Barca head to San Mames where they will face an Athletic team under new management in the shape of former Valencia boss Marcelino. The Basque side sacked former boss Gaizka Garitano after beating Elche 1-0 on Sunday.
Koeman is not expecting Marcelino to have been able to implement too many changes in his brief time in charge but knows his side must be wary in a fixture they lost 1-0 last season.
It’s a new manager but it shouldn’t change that much because it’s just two days training. They always come out to play at home. They played 4-2-3-1 recently, Marcelino has played more 4-4-2 but we have to be prepared.
Barcelona head to Bilbao fresh from a 1-0 win over bottom side Huesca but have struggled away from home in 2020-21. The Catalan giants have lost three and drawn one of seven matches on the road but can ill-afford to drop any more points.
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