Fit Barca can still win La Liga, says Koeman

MADRID, Spain, October 16Ronald Koeman said on Saturday that Barcelona will have a team to win La Liga once their injured players recover.

Barca sit ninth in the table ahead of a difficult week that includes league games against Valencia on Sunday and Real Madrid next weekend, with a Champions League home game against Dynamo Kiev in between.

Koeman has suggested that Sergio Aguero could be included in the squad to face Valencia, as the former Manchester City striker has yet to make his Barca debut due to a calf injury.

Ousmane Dembele, Pedri, Martin Braithwaite and Ronald Araujo are also absent while Ansu Fati has just returned from a long-lasting knee problem.

“Little by little we are getting the team we want,” Koeman said at a press conference. “We haven’t been lucky with the injuries, but when they recover we’ll have a team fighting for the league title.”

Aguero played around 25 minutes and scored in a friendly against Cornella on Wednesday after resuming full training earlier in the week.

The 33-year-old joined Barcelona on a free transfer in June with the intention of playing with Argentina teammate Lionel Messi, only for Messi to move to Paris Saint-Germain.

“He’s improved a lot lately,” Koeman said. “He lacks match rhythm and physical acuity, but he will recover by playing. It is possible that he will be in the team tomorrow.

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Fati also starred in the friendly as he perfects himself after an 11-month absence.

“We will decide tomorrow,” Koeman said on Fati’s chances of playing against Valencia. “Every day he gets better, but he’s been away for a long time and it will take more weeks to regain that sharpness.

“We will play three games in the next (eight) days. He won’t be able to play them all, that’s for sure.

Dembele is also training again but is even further behind after three months of absence following knee surgery. The Frenchman is not expected this weekend.

Koeman’s future looked bleak after just one win in six matches, but club president Joan Laporta said ahead of the international break that the Dutchman would continue to lead.

“I’m not worried,” Koeman said. “In a club as big as Barça, there are always things like that. I’m used to it, it’s not the first time. Last season, we were already talking about the coach.

“The president supported me and explained things very well but there is no doubt that a coach always depends on the results.”

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