In the first pre-season match Barcelona defeated Gimnastic 4-0, thanks to a hat-trick from Rey Manaj, and Ronald Koeman was pleased with what he saw. The match was held at the Estadi Johan Cruyff and the head coach Ronald Koeman was upbeat about the future after Barcelona began their pre-season campaign with a 4-0 win over 10-man Gimnastic.
In the second half of Wednesday’s friendly, Albania striker Rey Manaj scored a hat-trick in front of around 2,000 fans. Manaj has never played a competitive game for Barcelona and is expected to leave this summer. Barcelona’s other goal came from Alex Collado, but the game was not as one-sided as the score suggests, as three of the four goals were scored in the final five minutes.
Despite Lionel Messi’s delay in signing a new contract, as well as new signings Eric Garcia, Sergio Aguero, and Memphis Depay, Ronald Koeman was gratified with what he witnessed. “The important thing is that everyone has played 45 minutes; it is something important for the physical side of things,” he told Barca TV.
“We dominated and we got a good result. The game leaves positive feelings. My players have returned well. They also trained hard this morning – it’s all about getting fit. With two different teams, everyone has had a chance to show their quality. It goes without saying that there are certain names that stood out.”
Following a season played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic, Wednesday’s game marked the first time Koeman has managed Barca in front of a home crowd. “It was strange having people here, but thank goodness they were here,” the Dutchman said.
“I love that there is an audience and also the players do too. They helped us. We really needed it. On Saturday we will have more players available,” Koeman added. “We have a little time now to train altogether. In Germany, we will have good games, against high-level rivals, where we can draw good conclusions.”
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