Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman praised his side’s relentless pressing after their 2-1 win over Real Sociedad on Wednesday, when the Catalans finally came alive after an awful start to the season.
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Real Sociedad began the night as La Liga leaders and took the lead through Willian Jose but Barca quickly overcame the early setback thanks to strikes from Jordi Alba and Frenkie de Jong before the break.
“The first half was fantastic, we should have scored more goals. We were intense, we put them under a lot of pressure and we ran ourselves into the ground,” Koeman told a news conference.
“Real Sociedad are excellent on the ball but we kept robbing it off them, we pressed them so well. It was an open game because our opponents know how to play very well but the game belonged to us and it was a deserved triumph.”
Lionel Messi had an off night and missed several chances as well as misplacing a couple of key passes, but Koeman said he was pleased with his captain’s work rate.
“This is the team I want to see. Every player played out of their skin. The biggest difference was our play without the ball today, and Messi worked very hard in that respect, pressing a lot, and so did everyone else,” he said.
“That was the attitude we have to have when we don’t have the ball.”
Real Sociedad had been on a nine-game unbeaten run in the league when they arrived at the Camp Nou but they struggled to cope with Barca, and coach Imanol Alguacil praised the Catalans for their efforts.
“We saw the best Barca we have seen for a very long time, especially defensively,” he said.
“That speaks very highly of them and the respect they had for this game. We hadn’t seen a Barca this aggressive for so long. Even Messi was diving to the floor to win tackles.”