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The game against Juventus on Tuesday at Camp Nou (kick off, 9.00pm CET) brings to an end the group stage in this season's Champions League. Barça coach Ronald Koeman appeared before the press on Monday ahead of the clash with the Serie A champions and stressed the importance of finishing first in group G as well the prospect of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo coming face to face once again and the scheduling of recent matches.
The highlights from the press conference:
The game against Juventus
“Our objective is to play well and win each game. We won 2-0 away at their ground and took all three points so for that reason we have a great chance of finishing first in the group."
"We are missing important players. We will have to look to do the best we can, both technically and tactically, as well as being fresh. Against Juventus we will put out a strong side because we want to finish first in the group."
Injuries and kick off times
“[On the injury to Dembélé] It's a shame to lose another player. It is a step back for Dembélé as he had improved a lot in terms of fitness. It is another reason for me to complain about kick off times. For the good of Spanish sides in the Champions League, La Liga should schedule different kick off times ahead of European games. We have played five games away from home and all of them have been at 9.00pm. You can't get back at 4.30 in the morning and then have a Champions League game on Tuesday. It is not helping the La Liga teams."
Defeats in La Liga
“You always have to analyse defeats. You have to look at how they are scoring and our effectiveness out there on the field. If I lose, I am angry. I think being at Barça we can't accept some of the goals that we have conceded in certain games."
"The players know that we have to improve certain things. We want to find a balance between performance, effectiveness and not making so many mistakes at the back."
“He deserves to play in every game almost. He has several best positions; he knows how to play well in various positions depending on who we are up against. He can bring a lot because he is a clever player."
“In our attack, Leo is very important. A lot of attacking play comes from him. He is the best in the world and I don't think he has made many mistakes defending. It is the work of the whole team to be more aggressive in defence and to be more effective."
Cristiano Ronaldo's presence
"For us it's not a motivating factor. We thing that they are a big team and there are two big teams fighting to be top of the group. Cristiano is one of the best and he always battles and always scores. He is still at the top due to his working hard every day. We have to defend well and have the ball to take away his danger."
"It's great that Messi and Cristiano are at the top level. They have had a lot of success over the last few years. They are two different players but they have amazing scoring records. They are both players to admire."
“Pjanic's position and role at Barça can't be compared with those at Juventus. He is going to get better gradually and I have no doubts about him. The decisions I make are always for the good of the team."
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