Despite the pandemic, there's no shortage of debates among Barcelona fans, who are always looking at their players with a magnifying glass, wondering why some are a success and others don't live up to expectations. One player involved in many conversations is Antoine Griezmann, who's constantly in an exam. His coach, Ronald Koeman, has spoken about the France forward's situation in an interview with SPORT.
-Are you worried about Griezmann's lack of goals? Sometimes he seems frustrated. Does he need recovering?
Of course, but that always depends on the player. He's working well, although he's said himself his performances have to improve. He mentioned it after the Alaves game. But he's getting chances and working well, I hope more goals go in. Every player has moments when they doubt themselves and it's normal. For us, it's important to help him find his best form. But a the end of the day, it's always in the hands of the player.
-The sensation is he's more comfortable when Messi's not playing.
I don't believe that. If I was a player, I would always think it's better to have Messi by my side. Because he's a player that creates chances and gives assists, like for (Griezmann's goal) against Betis. It's true that Leo, due to his importance, his quality and because he's a decisive player, can mark the way the team plays. But it's something that depends on us, the coaching to staff, to know where we can get the best out of each player.
Selling players in January will be key yo signing anyone. If no one leaves, no one arrives. And there are players that have hardly participated, such as Carles Aleña, Junior Firpo and Riqui Puig.
"The young players have to play, it's not good for them to not have minutes. We need a deep squad to be able to make changes. I give them advice, but in the end, each player decides," Koeman says.
"I have spoken to them. If, in the end, you decide to stay with the team, you're part of the squad and you have to show me that you deserve minutes. January will be a moment to evaluate their situation."
B TEAM RISING
Any Barcelona coach knows that the club must look to the academy for the future. Koeman knows the club well and is not estranged from that, but he doesn't hide the difficulties in jumping from the B team to the first team.
"There is talent in the B team because they work hard," he says. "That's why we're watching their games and reading the reports. And when there's an international break, we always play a game against them to see the quality the players have.
"But it's not easy to go from the B team to the first team. It's a big leap and sometimes you need more time. Only the very, very good players have made it: Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol and a few more. But it's not something within the reach of everyone."