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Koeman unworried by how Sunday's Madrid derby turns out

Barcelona closed within two points of leaders Atlético Madrid on Saturday but coach Ronald Koeman is not overly concerned by Sunday's derby result.

Koeman unworried by how Sunday's Madrid derby turns out
Getty Images

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman says he will take an interest in Sunday's Madrid derby but is not overly worried by how the game will pan out as the LaLiga title race heats up.

Barcelona win in Pamplona

The Catalans beat Osasuna 0-2 on Saturday to extend their unbeaten LaLiga run to 16 matches and close to within two points of leaders Atlético Madrid, who have two games in hand. One of those is Sunday's Madrid derby where third-placed Real Madrid will also be looking to close within two points of Atlético.

Atlético have wavered in recent matches, dropping points in three of their past five, opening the door for Barça and Madrid, although Koeman said he would be unfazed by the outcome. "The derby in Madrid? The most important thing is our result," the Dutch coach said. "But of course we're interested in it. Any result would be good."

Ilaix opens his account

Jordi Alba and Guinea-born 18-year-old midfielder Ilaix Moriba netted the goals in Saturday's win at Osasuna. The teenager was making just his third appearance in LaLiga, having come through Barcelona's famed academy.

"Ilaix is young, but is physically very strong," Koeman said. "He's gaining ground to be with the first team more often." He added: "Ilaix scored a goal in a difficult match, with 0-2 we killed off the game. Every time Moriba enters the pitch he brings something extra. Players like Pedri, Ilaix, Riqui [Puig], [Ronald] Araujo and [Oscar] Mingueza are the future of the club. We're proud to be able to bring in young homegrown players. But we are not doing it because the fans want it, we're doing it because they deserve it."

French defender Samuel Umtiti was replaced at half-time by winger Ousmane Dembélé, a switch Koeman which clarified. "Umtiti's substitution was tactical. We wanted to be in better control," he said. "It's true he had a card but he wasn't applying pressure well. We improved in the second half."


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