La Liga

Wonderkid Pedri needs to maintain his high level, admits Ronald Koeman

The Barcelona starlet has had a sensational season so far and his coach believes a spot at the Euros with Spain is achievable

3:37pm on Friday 8th January 2021
Paul Macdonald

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman has said that midfield starlet Pedri needs to maintain his good form over a consistent period to have any chance of going to the Euros with Spain.

The 18-year-old was picked up from Las Palmas for just £5m in the summer and has seamlessly integrated into the Barcelona team, proving to be one of the brightest spots of the season.

In the last few weeks he has begun to add goals and assists to his game as he is now an undisputed starter, though Koeman was keen to keep the player's feet on the ground by demanding a consistent level of high performance before getting too excited.

Ahead of this weekend's match against Granada, the Dutchman said: ""It's not my decision. We can say a lot of positive things about Pedri's career.

"Nobody expected a boy his age to play almost every game. He deserves it. Young people always have ups and downs and you have to see how it continues to evolve, but I have no doubts that he will continue to improve. He has to show this level for a longer time.

"Pedri has played in various positions with a lot of freedom. Any player like Pedri, [Frenkie] De Jong, Leo [Messi] or [Antoine] Griezmann needs freedom to move where there are spaces. We need midfielders who score 8-10 goals per season."

Koeman also discussed Messi's happiness at the moment and stressed that the Argentine cannot be expected to carry the team every week via goals and assists.

He added: "Messi is a winner, a player who likes to train and play. Like me, I'm pissed off if I lose.

"Leo from the first day he returned has done the maximum for this team. In the last game [v Athletic Bilbao] he helped us a lot to win the game. It's not normal for him to score three goals every day."

Lastly, Koeman referenced Barcelona's chances of winning La Liga, despite being seven points behind Atletico Madrid having played two games more.

He concluded: "I always look to the team that goes first if you want to win the championship. It is complicated because Atletico has been very strong in La Liga, scoring and winning games.

"We are in a situation where we cannot lose many more points. You have to be realistic."

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