Barcelona

Koeman expects beautiful, open game against Real Sociedad

Barcelona will have to be "confident" and "good with the ball" if they are to overcome Real Sociedad on Wednesday night, says Ronald Koeman.

Koeman expects 'beautiful and open' game against title contenders Real Sociedad

Ronald Koeman is anticipating a "beautiful and open" game against Real Sociedad, who he believes have enough quality to win LaLiga. La Real are top of LaLiga having collected 26 points from their first 13 games – their highest tally at this stage of the season since they amassed 29 points early in the 2002/03 campaign and ultimately finished second.

Barça are nine points back in eighth after a difficult start, but they can take comfort from a wonderful record against La Real at Camp Nou. Victory on Wednesday would be their 23rd consecutive triumph against the Basque side on home soil, equalling their longest winning run against them in LaLiga, achieved between 1929 and 1961.

Real Sociedad on a roll

Koeman praised the work of counterpart Imanol Alguacil and acknowledged his own Barca side – who squeezed past Levante 1-0 at the weekend – will have to be at their best to get anything out of the game. "I think it will be an open game," Koeman told a media conference. "Last year it was open. They are two teams that want to have the ball and put pressure on. I expect an open and beautiful game."

Asked if La Real could win LaLiga, Koeman said: "At the moment, yes. It's a very good team. You can tell that they have been together for several seasons. I like how they play. I understand that we have to be very good, with confidence and with the ball to hurt them. It's down to the coach. He has a game system, he has very good players with the ball and the team's structure, wanting to play from behind and wanting to push, is good. They have many things that I like, but so do we. Their trajectory is not from just now, it comes from previous years. They are doing a great job."

Barcelona's home form

Barcelona have now won their last three LaLiga games at home – their best run under Koeman – after claiming victory in just two of their previous six at Camp Nou in the competition. While the Dutchman says the win over Levante gives his side some breathing space, he concedes their form this season has been far from acceptable.

"In general, we cannot be happy with our trajectory in the championship," Koeman added. "We have lost when we should not lose, but you have to see the team, how it works. The other day we got a very important result, in a very difficult game. We lacked things, but the attitude was good. Those three points give us peace of mind for tomorrow. Of course, I want the team to play better and get better results. We have had things go against us, like injuries to important people. There are always outside factors, but I think we have to be more consistent. We cannot train a lot because the calendar is very tight and affects freshness."