Ronald Koeman isn8217;t giving up on the LaLiga Santander title just yet. His Barcelona side didn’t convince, but they picked up an important three points against Levante on Sunday.
It took until the second half for the hosts to open the scoring at the Camp Nou, with Lionel Messi finally finding a way past Aitor Fernandez in goal. The win moves Barcelona to within nine points of current LaLiga Santander leaders Real Sociedad.
“Of course we can win [the title],” Koeman said after the Levante win. “If we improve and we have more confidence and we improve our effectiveness [in front of goal], there’s a chance! There are still lots of games left remaining.”
Messi’s goal was just his fifth of the campaign in LaLiga Santander, with his performances notably a step down from previous years.
“You have to realise they don’t make it easy for him,” Koeman said on his captain. “He’s marked by lots [of players]. But he’s shown he’s decisive.”
Samuel Umtiti came on for the final few minutes as Koeman opted to defend his lead with three centre-backs.
“If you need something to finish the game and your opponents are putting more people forward and they’re being dangerous, you have to defend the result,” Koeman explained. “It was important to win this game. It gives us confidence for Wednesday.”
Somewhat curiously, Riqui Puig went off to warm up during the second half before sitting back down on the Barcelona bench. The youngster, who hasn’t featured regularly under Koeman this season, didn’t get on.
“He was warming up to come into the game at 0-0 but then, when we scored, the plan was different,” Koeman explained.
Wednesday sees Barcelona take on leaders Real Sociedad at the Camp Nou in LaLiga Santander.