Coach Ronald Koeman reveals his ideology to fix the Barcelona defense.
Barcelona played their first match under newly appointed manager, Ronald Koeman on Saturday in a friendly against Gimnastic de Tarragona. The Catalans won 3-1 in a comfortable victory which saw the Dutch coach have his first win in the managerial position. The match was relatively simple for Barcelona however they did concede on goal courtesy to a Javi Bonilla stunner.
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Koeman played out a more defensive 4-2-3-1 formation which is one that the fans and the players are not used to at all. Although on paper it may seem more defensive-minded, however, Koeman promises that they change of formation will allow more versatile attacks as the aim of their game is to play possession-based football. The two holding midfielders will help to make attacks by playing a quick passing game in the midfield and they can also drop all the way to their own defensive box in order to help out the defense when needed.
The change of formation will take some time to settle in and the new more physical play will also require a good amount of practice. Barcelona under Quique Setien almost became a counter-attacking side as they lacked the pace to play from the wings and the midfield was mostly made of senior players. Koeman is very stern about playing young players as the likes of Arturo Vidal and Luis Suarez were not present on the field.
In a post-match interview Koeman said,
“It may be different and somewhat more defensive than what has been seen in recent years, but the objective is to move the ball, hold on to it and find the spaces to play between the lines, and behind rival midfielders”
Koeman is trying to reinvent the club and he has a lot of pressure to perform in the first season. The addition of Lionel Messi to the squad will certainly help him out but if his new plans do not solve their defensive crisis, it will put the Dutch manager in a tough spot.
Will Barca prosper under Koeman?