Barcelona vs Gimnastic: Messi Score 3-1 In Returns
Barcelona defeated Gimnastic de Tarragona 3-1 in a pre-season friendly on Saturday.
Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele both made encouraging returns by scoring in Ronald Koeman’s first game in charge.
Lionel Messi also wore the captain’s armband in his first match, since he made a dramatic u-turn in his bid to dump Barca this summer.
Luis Suarez and Arturo Vidal were, however, left out of the squad, as the LaLiga club is still trying to offload both players.
Koeman set the team up in a 4-2-3-1 system with two holding midfielders, a shape rarely used by Barca coaches in the past.
After the game, he told the club’s official TV channel: “It’s perhaps a little different and more defensive to what we have seen in the last few years,” Koeman told the club’s official television channel.
“But the aim is to move the ball, hold on to it and create space to play between the lines, behind the opponents’ midfielders. I think this team is capable of doing this because we have midfielders who are able to play in that way.