Koeman: Barcelona had to suffer to beat Valladolid

By Sports Desk April 05, 2021

Barcelona showed they knew how to suffer in order to beat Real Valladolid, much to the satisfaction of boss Ronald Koeman.

Ousmane Dembele's 90th-minute strike gave the Blaugrana a 1-0 victory over their relegation-threatened opponents at Camp Nou, cutting the gap to leaders Atletico Madrid to a solitary point.

Real Madrid are up next in El Clasico this weekend, with a thrilling three-way title battle looking set to go to the wire.

If any team looks capable of pulling clear it is Barca, who have won 13 and drawn one in LaLiga in 2021, although they were far from their fluent best for long periods on Monday – something Koeman acknowledged.

"You have to know how to suffer in all the games, we knew how to do it. So yes, we deserved to win," he told reporters.

"It is true that we have not been at the level of the last games , but it is normal that sometimes games like this happen.

"I think we lacked a bit of freshness, it could be because of the international break. So yes, we are now able to win our games and be champions."

That Barca's title destiny is now in their hands owes much to France winger Dembele, who is enjoying his most consistent run of form and fitness since a big-money 2017 switch from Borussia Dortmund in 2017.

"Of course he is an important player, he has shown it today with his game, he has given us the points," Koeman said.

"His form this year is very good. Physically he has improved a lot and that has been the key to his consistency.

"I would like him to stay with us."

After the match, Barcelona announced Philippe Coutinho has undergone a successful meniscus procedure.

The playmaker has not featured in 2021 due to his knee injury.

Related items

  • Montego Bay United forward Beckford secures loan move to USL's Colorado Switchbacks Montego Bay United forward Beckford secures loan move to USL's Colorado Switchbacks

    Former Jamaica U-23 and Montego Bay United forward, Deshane Beckford, is expected to join USL Championship club Colorado Switchbacks on a season-long loan.

    The move will mark the second for the Jamaica national over the past several years, after first joining the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros at the end of 2019.  Beckford also spent the 2020 season with the Toros.

    In 22 USL Championship appearances, the forward has scored three goals.  Brown put himself on the radar of the USL after a strong performance at the 2019 Pan American Games where he scored three goals for Jamaica in three games.  The forward also previously represented Jamaica at the U-17 level.

    The move remains dependent on the player renewing a work visa, but Beckford expressed delight with the opportunity to continue plying his trade in the US second division.

     “I'm grateful to be a part of the Switchbacks, the players and staff have been really positive,” Beckford told USL Championship.com.

     “I'm excited for the upcoming season.”

    The 23-year-old previously trialed for West Ham in 2015.  Colorado Springs coach Brendan Burke welcomed Beckford’s addition to the line-up.

    “Deshane is a player that impressed us immensely during his performance with the Jamaican U23 team in the Pan American Games,” Burke said.

    “His pace, soft feet, and nose for goal should add another weapon to our still-evolving group of forwards.”

  • Rumour Has It: Declan Rice eyeing Man Utd move Rumour Has It: Declan Rice eyeing Man Utd move

    Declan Rice may be looking to make a move to Manchester United from resurgent West Ham. 

    The 22-year-old midfielder talked to United players during last month's international break as England won their opening three World Cup qualifiers.

    The Red Devils could be in need of midfield help if Paul Pogba leaves at the end of the season.

     

    TOP STORY - RICE TO RED DEVILS

    England international Declan Rice is interested in swapping West Ham for Manchester United, the Manchester Evening News reports. 

    During the recent international break, he spoke with Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw about the atmosphere at the club. 

    Rice is under contract with the Hammers through to 2024 but could be prised away for the right price. 

    David Moyes has said Rice could net £100 million for the London club. 

     

    ROUND-UP

    - Barcelona have made prolific Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland their primary transfer target, according to Marca. Barca are willing to wait until the end of next season to get their man.

    - Brest defender Romain Perraud has the attention of Leeds United and Lyon, according to the Daily Mail. Perraud would shore up the defence of either club while serving as a potential asset going forward; he has three goals and six assists this season.

    - Goal reports Jesse Lingard is yet to decide whether he wants to make West Ham his permanent home as he continues to enjoy a stunning spell on loan from Manchester United.

    - Lyon center back and Danish international Joachim Andersen, currently on loan to Fulham, is drawing interest from Tottenham and Manchester United, B.T. reports, with Chelsea, Leicester City and Crystal Palace also potential destinations.

    Charles De Ketelaere may be on the move from Bruges, with Milan and Atalanta both potential landing spots, according to Calciomercato. 

  • Real Madrid want more as Champions League semis await – Zidane Real Madrid want more as Champions League semis await – Zidane

    Zinedine Zidane said Real Madrid always want more after reaching the Champions League semi-finals as they also fight to retain their LaLiga crown.

    Madrid booked a semi-final berth for the first time since 2018 after Wednesday's 0-0 draw away to Liverpool secured a 3-1 aggregate victory.

    Los Blancos, who are only a point adrift of city rivals Atletico Madrid with eight games remaining in LaLiga, have qualified for the semi-finals of the European Cup/Champions League for the 30th time – at least 10 more than any other team as Chelsea await in the final four.

    Zidane led Madrid to three consecutive Champions League titles between 2015 and 2018, and after eliminating Premier League holders Liverpool, the Frenchman said: "We're all pulling together and this side always does that and it always wants more.

    "We've not won anything yet, but we're alive in Europe and the LaLiga."

    Without the likes of captain Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane at Anfield – Madrid benefited from Liverpool's wastefulness after the likes of Mohamed Salah, Georginio Wijnaldum and Roberto Firmino all had chances.

    Madrid, who seized control of the tie thanks to Vinicius Junior's first-leg brace, weathered the storm – the Spanish giants have now progressed from 11 of their 12 two-legged knockout ties in the Champions League under Zidane, with the club's only elimination coming against Manchester City in last season's round of 16.

    "We were up against it and we knew we had to suffer tonight, but in the end we got what we wanted, which was to go through," said Zidane, who has reached the Champions League semi-finals for the fourth time as a coach, more than any other French manager in the history of the competition – surpassing Arsene Wenger.

    "I think we handled the game well, we rode the storm and can be proud of our display.

    "We knew they'd start fast and they were really good in the opening 15 minutes, but that's normal. In the quarter-finals of the Champions League you have to dig in and we did that and got through."

    Madrid have faced Chelsea more often without winning than any other side in their entire history, failing to win in all three games against the Premier League outfit (D1 L2), while their upcoming semi-final encounter will be their first ever Champions League meeting.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.