FC Barcelona are currently in the third position in La Liga points table but they are two points adrift of league leaders Atletico Madrid with a game in hand. Arch rivals Real Madrid only lead the Catalans in terms of goal difference. So if Barcelona wins their upcoming fixture against Granda they will leapfrog over both the clubs to take their place at the summit of La Liga.
FC Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman is very surprised to see the Blaugrana still in contention to win the league after a very shaky start to the current season. Koeman’s men have turned it around as Barca were 10 points behind Los Rojiblancos and were languishing in the sixth position at the beginning of this year.
Lionel Messi and company look like a completely transformed team this year. They have won 15 out of 17 games after the turn of the year. For now, they are concentrating on the match against Granada which will put them in the driver’s seat with five matches to go in the current season.
“It is important to win because we are in a moment where we know we can be leaders and it can be a reward, but first we have to win,” Koeman told reporters.
“It’s one game at a time. If you look back, it’s an unexpected situation. We had a big points difference and it’s something big that we’ve achieved, the opportunity to fight to win La Liga.”
“In the last 17 games, almost half of the season, we have 15 wins. That’s impressive. And it had to be like this, because otherwise, we wouldn’t be fighting for the title,” the Dutch tactician continued.
Koeman lauded the performance of the Barcelona attackers as they have increased their output in the second half of the season. Antoine Greizmann who was once struggling for form scored twice last weekend as Barca won 2-1 against Villareal.
There were criticisms as the club allowed Luis Suarez to leave for a title contender club in Spain and also did not bring in a proper replacement for the Uruguayan marksman.
“We have to remember that, for example, [Ansu] Fati has been out for five months. We have created more goalscoring opportunities [recently], we have scored more. The team has done a great job offensively. During the summer I told him (Griezmann) he was an important player.”
The former Ajax manager admits that he was critical of the Frenchman early on in the season. But he also revealed his admiration and expectation from Greizmann in return.
“Of course I had been critical about the forwards not taking chances, and also Antoine. But he’s a guy I like, he works for the team and gives his all. Now he is more confident,” Koeman revealed.
“The first goal he scored against Villarreal, you can’t score that if you’re lacking confidence. He’s in an important and good spell of form,” he signed off.