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Éric Abidal has been technical secretary at FC Barcelona since July 2018. The Frenchman, who spent six seasons at Barça as a player, talked to Catalan sports papers Mundo Deportivo and Sport about his time in the job, transfers and the state of the team in the current 2019/20 season:
This season's squad
"I think we have done a good job. The team is stronger with players who have a good attitude in the dressing room and talent out on the field. From there, everything has to fit together because Barça has a different philosophy."
"We have a better squad than last year. When you add players you don't just add talent but also personalities. Furthermore, if the dressing room is united, that is an important step."
The current form of the team
"Barça's objectives are the same as always: compete to win everything. If the team has that mentality to achieve this goal, they will do it. I am convinced they can."
Contract extensions for Messi and Ansu Fati
"Let's hope that Leo Messi stays for many more years and I think he will. He is a key player for us and I know that President Bartomeu is talking to his agents ... I don't know if we will have news any time soon but the decision depends on Messi and his people. For us, as a club, let's hope it is decided soon. We will see but I am positive."
"We are also talking to Ansu's people. He is a young player and we have to protect him. We have to take to his family and his agent. From there he just needs to keep training, working hard and playing."
Abidal, Bartomeu & De Jong
Confidence in Valverde
"The debate about the coach continuing or not will always be there. You have to analyse everything, what the coach can bring to the team and vice versa. We support the coach and we give him all the info, even though the day to day business is his. If the coach thinks improvement is possible, you have to have confidence in him."
"The longer it goes, the more decisions you have to take. There are players with talent, new signings, quality players from La Masia and you have to find playing time for them. For the coach it can be a risk but it is part of the process of managing the dressing room."
The day to day for a technical secretary
"The most important thing is planning and I think we have done a good job. We have brought in talented young players because you have to think not just of the present but of the future as well. That's a job we do internally with the youth football set up. Each year different players come to the club and the most important thing is that they fit in well and adapt quickly."
"I support being daring when it comes to decisions, sign the best, be ahead of the market but also having as much info as possible from all over the world. For that reason for me the scouting department is the most important."
"I will do all I can for keep doing the best for the Club, maintaining confidence in the coach and supporting the player because I know what football is about. I also know the type of player Barça needs. I love this job."
Abidal is thorough in his analysis of his first months in his new job
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