Barça coach Ronald Koeman: I have nothing against Riqui Puig

The midfielder has not played many minutes under the Dutch coach this season

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German Bona

Ronald Koeman was delighted with Barcelona's win over Granada on Saturday but also took the chance after the game to play down reports of a feud with Riqui Puig.

Young midfielder Puig hasn't played much football under Koeman and on Friday the Dutch coach said the young players should look for minutes elsewhere if possible because they need to play.

Koeman's comments were reported as a message for Puig, although he didn't refer directly to him and wasn't asked directly about him.

Speaking a day later on Saturday, Koeman explained. "It's as if I have a problem with him and that is not the case.

"I spoke about young players in general, like Konrad, Junior, Matheus. They haven't played many minutes, either, but you always pick one name. It's not good for me or for Riqui.

"I want the best for every player and there's no problem, but it depends on each player and they have to be in agreement (about what's best)."

Messi

Koeman was speaking after Barça's 4-0 win, which came complete with braces from Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann.

For Messi, it was his second double in a week after he scored twice at Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday and Koeman says he's never doubted the Argentine.

"He's given all since the first day I got here to be in form and help the team," Koeman said. "Like everyone, we've taken time, and recently he's been really efficient.

"We're so used to his standards that if he doesn't score for two games, some people are unhappy or worried, but I never was, from the first day I got here the contact has been good.

"I have seen him motivated every day, in games, training and in the dressing room. Now he's scoring more goals doesn't mean he is more involved, they're moments and now they're going in.

"Barça need Messi, because of his important creating chances and his efficiency in front of goal. IWe need him to achieve big things and to fight for titles."

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