Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman was impressed by Ansu Fati's impact in Sunday's season-opening 4-0 win over Villarreal but he tempered excitement around the teenager as he revealed pre-season concerns.

Fati, 17, was in devastating form for Barca at Camp Nou as Villarreal were swept aside, scoring two fine first-half goals in a five-minute period, before then winning a penalty that was converted by Lionel Messi.

With Messi's future seemingly unclear, Fati had been billed as the poster boy of a new era at Barca – fittingly it was the Spain international who got the ball rolling in style.

And while Koeman was impressed – the Dutchman had been shown beaming as he embraced Fati after his 70th-minute withdrawal – he was keen to remind both the player and fans that the youngster still has much to learn.

"We must highlight the game and performance of Ansu Fati," Koeman told reporters. "I was complaining a little last week about him not having the maximum level of performance in the pre-season.

"He is only 17 years old, he will have a great future, but he must improve things. Sometimes he lacks a bit of concentration.

"One of my criticisms was in the friendly against Elche – he was not good. Today he was. His intensity out wide was immense, he played a great game and we took advantage of his qualities."

Sergio Busquets hit a similar note, stressing the need for patience with Fati.

"We have to be calm with him, we know the potential he has," he told Movistar. "He is tremendous for his age, but we don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves.

"He has many team-mates from whom he can continue to learn so that his ceiling is as high as possible.

"You have to let him play his football and take advantage of the fact that he is at a good point."

Lionel Messi has dominated the headlines for Barcelona since their 2019-20 season finished, but he showed little sign of letting off-field matters impact his performances as he helped secure a 4-0 win over Villarreal.

Barca were in action on Sunday for the first time since losing 8-2 to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals last month, a result that seemed to start a tumultuous chain reaction at the club.

Quique Setien was sacked and replaced by Ronald Koeman, Luis Suarez was deemed surplus to requirements and ultimately sold, that angered an already disillusioned Messi – who attempted to force a transfer, and supporters subsequently launched a bid to oust president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

But the Blaugrana returned to the pitch and blew Villarreal away to begin the Koeman era victoriously, Barca's baggage seemingly left to one side and forgotten about for an evening at Camp Nou.

Messi was at the fore as he usually is and, after seeing Ansu Fati terrorise the visitors with two early goals, the superstar Barca captain dispatched a penalty that the teenager won.

That goal meant Messi has scored in 17 successive LaLiga seasons, making him just the fourth player to ever achieve the feat.

Real Madrid greats Santillana and Sergio Ramos – who scored against Real Betis on Saturday – both netted in 17 consecutive LaLiga campaigns, with the former doing so between 1971 and 1988.

The only player to have scored in more successive LaLiga seasons is Agustin Gainza, who reached 19 straight campaigns for Athletic Bilbao from 1940 to 1959.

Given the uncertainty around Messi's future, one has to wonder whether the 33-year-old will make it to 18.

Lionel Messi's desire to leave Barcelona showed no sign of impacting his on-pitch performance as he and Ansu Fati led the 4-0 dismantling of Villarreal on Sunday, marking a triumphant start to the Ronald Koeman era.

Barca have been engulfed by all manner of turmoil since losing 8-2 to Bayern Munich in their previous competitive match on August 14, with the unsuccessful attempt to force a transfer by club talisman Messi undoubtedly the major headline, but as they started their 2020-21 season they proved this is not a team to write off lightly.

Fati got the ball rolling with an impressive double in a five-minute period, before then winning the penalty that was scored by Messi, who subsequently saw a cross of his turned in by Villarreal defender Pau Torres.

Unai Emery's side tightened up in the second half, with Barca consequentially having a little less freedom in the final third, but Villarreal's slight improvement had no impact on what was an easy start for Koeman in LaLiga.

With Messi's future up in the air, Fati had seemingly been billed as the poster boy of this new era at Barca and fittingly he was their inspiration here, opening the scoring 15 minutes in with an emphatic first-time finish from Jordi Alba's cut-back.

The teenager was decisive again a few moments later, latching on to Philippe Coutinho's throughball and coolly slotting past the helpless Sergio Asenjo, who also had no answer to Messi's penalty, which was won by the omnipresent Fati as well.

Things got even worse for the visitors on the stroke of half-time, Torres poking Messi's cross beyond Asenjo as the unlikely spectre of Sergio Busquets lurked for a tap-in.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Barca's intensity did drop after the interval and Villarreal became a more compact unit following a couple of half-time changes.

Koeman took the opportunity to give Fati a bit of a rest with 20 minutes to go, with another talented teenager – Pedri – given the chance to come off the bench for his LaLiga debut after joining from Las Palmas.

Miralem Pjanic and Francisco Trincao were also given their debuts as substitutes, with the young Portuguese winger almost adding a fifth goal when stinging the palms of Asenjo, but Villarreal managed to avoid any further embarrassment.

What does it mean? A smooth landing for Koeman

The first five-and-a-bit weeks of Koeman's reign had been anything but straightforward, from watching the fallout of Barca's Champions League humiliation to partaking in the unceremonious dumping of Luis Suarez that – in part – contributed to Messi's disillusionment.

Even just this week Messi vocalised his disdain for the Barca hierarchy following their treatment of Suarez, who earlier enjoyed a goalscoring debut for Atletico Madrid.

But once out on the pitch, Barca's baggage vanished. While this certainly remains a flawed squad, Messi, Coutinho and Fati provided a devastating reminder that it is also a group with immense attacking ability.

Fati sinks Yellow Submarine

While Messi certainly did well with all eyes on him, Fati was the standout, even more so given his age.

In scoring twice, Fati became the youngest player from Europe's top five leagues to net 10 times in all competitions since 2019-20 began, but he also won the penalty and provided a couple of key passes before his 70th-minute withdrawal.

The Griezmann conundrum lingers on

It will be hoped that Koeman finds the secret to getting the best out of Antoine Griezmann this term.

Leading the attack in Suarez's place might help in the long run, but he was practically anonymous here, touching the ball just 30 times (seven fewer than goalkeeper Neto), having only one shot and failing to create a single chance in his 78 minutes on the pitch.

What's next?

Barca go to Celta Vigo on Thursday, while Villarreal will hope to bounce back at home to Deportivo Alaves a day earlier.

Diego Simeone wants Luis Suarez to improve on the goalscoring output of Alvaro Morata and be the catalyst that makes Atletico Madrid LaLiga title challengers again following his move from Barcelona.

Suarez completed a €6million switch from Barca on Friday, signing a two-year contract with Atleti following a largely acrimonious Camp Nou departure.

The Uruguayan striker, 33, reached third in Barca's all-time goalscoring charts in his six years at the club and netted 16 in the league last term, a respectable figure given he made just 22 starts and missed a significant portion of the season through injury.

Ronald Koeman revealed in his news conference on Saturday that, while he planned to discard Suarez anyway, the decision to move the former Liverpool star on had already been made before the Dutchman arrived.

But one man's trash is another man's treasure, and Simeone is adamant Suarez's impact at the Wanda Metropolitano could be massive, challenging him to improve on the 12 LaLiga goals scored last season by Morata, who was allowed to leave for Juventus.

"The arrival of Suarez encourages us to continue growing," Simeone told reporters, having also confirmed the striker is in the squad for Atletico's season opener at home to Granada on Sunday.

"He will give us internal competition. He is a forward who has impressive offensive power and hopefully he can continue to produce the numbers that he has been doing in the past.

"These six years [at Barca] have been wonderful [for Suarez]. His colleagues have received him with enthusiasm we hope he adapts as soon as possible.

"We all know him – he's a great reference for the team. Given the option that Alvaro had of being able to leave, the best way to continue improving was to look for someone who could improve on Alvaro's scoring contribution, and when the option of Suarez appeared, what was I going to say? His numbers speak for themselves.

"We were lucky that when we had a very good [Radamel] Falcao, a very good [Diego] Costa or a very good [Antoine] Griezmann, we came close to fighting for everything. Let's hope that with Luis Suarez it will be like that and we can overcome what we did last season."

Atletico finished third in LaLiga last term, 17 points adrift of a Real Madrid side that, while certainly solid, was hardly spectacular as they clinched the title.

Six teams – including Sunday's visitors Granada – scored more than Atletico in 2019-20, but Simeone feels things will be different with Suarez having a point to prove.

"I'm going to be sincere with you, he was convinced that this was the place where he could show that he was a top-notch forward," Simeone added. "I found what I was looking for for this club – ambition and a desire to be here.

"Hopefully he will give us back the options we had when we had the best Falcao, the best Costa or the best Griezmann. That would mean getting closer to the successes that all fans want."

Ronald Koeman insisted he was not "the bad guy" in Luis Suarez's transfer away from Barcelona, although he could understand Lionel Messi's anger at the move.

Suarez, third on the list of all-time Barcelona goal scorers, left Camp Nou this week for Atletico Madrid.

It was reported Suarez was one of a number of senior stars informed by new coach Koeman they would have to leave the club following an underwhelming 2019-20 season.

But Koeman suggested some portrayals of this conversation were not entirely accurate, saying Suarez could have stayed but would have had a reduced role.

"It seemed that I had been the bad guy in this movie, but it is not like that," Koeman said ahead of the Blaugrana's LaLiga opener against Villarreal.

"Since the call [regarding Suarez's future], I have shown respect for him and I have always told him that it can be difficult to play but, if he stayed, he would be one of the squad.

"Before I signed the contract, the club was thinking about things, and I have tried to support those things. They are not just decisions of the coach.

"Luis and I respect each other and we have spoken clearly about his future. He had the opportunity to go to Atletico and I wish all the luck in the world."

Suarez's exit prompted a furious Instagram post from captain Messi, whose own attempted departure was blocked by the club.

Messi said Suarez did not deserve "to get kicked out like [he] did", adding he was not surprised by Barca's actions.

Koeman responded: "It is normal for him to be upset that a friend has left, but I have no doubt about Messi. I have seen him train."

The former Netherlands coach, who would not rule out moves for Lautaro Martinez or Memphis Depay, is not concerned by the tumultuous nature of his early Barca reign.

"If you ask the coaches who have been at Barca, they will surely tell you that they have never had a quiet day," he said.

"I knew that when I had to face changes I would have people in favour and others against. I knew it.

"No problem, it is part of being in the best club in the world, although I hope there is a little more peace of mind."

Frank de Boer believes he has inherited a Netherlands squad that is even better than the one that reached the World Cup final a decade ago. 

The new Oranje coach, confirmed as Ronald Koeman's successor, was on Bert van Marwijk's coaching staff at the 2010 World Cup when Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder et al made the final, only to be beaten by Spain after extra time. 

The Netherlands missed out on qualification for the previous World Cup in 2018 - having also been absent from Euro 2016 - but De Boer is bullish about the future having signed a two-year contract that will take in next year's delayed European Championship and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. 

"This selection is perhaps even more talented than that of 2010," De Boer told reporters. 

"I do see similarities with that group. Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben were in top form, we had Rafael van der Vaart and also defensively it was good with the block - Mark van Bommel [and] Nigel de Jong. Very solid, and so does the current selection. There is a lot of potential, especially in terms of width." 

The Netherlands were at a low ebb when Koeman took over in February 2018 but he led them to the Nations League final and guided them to Euro 2020 - a competition that has been postponed until next year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Koeman will not be in charge for that having left to take over at Barcelona, though former Ajax, Inter, Crystal Palace and Atlanta United coach De Boer accepts he shares similarities with his predecessor. 

"When the rumours about a possible departure of Koeman to Barcelona came, I had a brief talk with my agent about the Dutch national team, just to see how I might feel about that," De Boer added. 

"I am not Ronald Koeman 2.0, but there are of course some similarities. I do want to follow the path of his method." 

De Boer made 112 appearances for his country and won four straight Eredivisie titles with Ajax at the start of his coaching career. 

However, he has failed to emulate that success in his stops with Inter, Palace and MLS side Atlanta, so his appointment as coach of the national team has raised eyebrows. 

"It doesn't interest me whether I was the first, second or sixth choice for the Oranje, this job is very honourable and if I am asked to do this job, I like to do this job," De Boer said. 

"You always have supporters and opponents and you always hear the opponents loudest. But I think there is also a very large group of people who are very satisfied.  

"I hope that I will not betray the confidence of the KNVB [Royal Dutch Football Association] and the supporters."

Frank de Boer has been appointed as the new Netherlands head coach, the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) confirmed on Wednesday.

Ronald Koeman left his post as national team boss last month to take over at Barcelona following the dismissal of Quique Setien.

De Boer, who made 112 Netherlands appearances and played at two World Cups for his country, has signed a two-year deal that takes him through to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The 50-year-old enjoyed a promising start to his coaching career, leading Ajax to four straight Eredivisie titles between 2011 and 2014.

However, his appointment may come as somewhat of a surprise given a poor track record since departing the Amsterdam club.

An ill-fated 85-day spell as Inter coach was followed by a forgettable 10-week stay in charge of Crystal Palace.

De Boer did win the U.S. Open Cup during an 18-month stint at MLS side Atlanta United but he departed the team two months ago following an indifferent start to the season.

Previously, De Boer worked for the national team as assistant coach to Bert van Marwijk at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa where Netherlands were beaten by Spain in the final.

His first assignment comes in the friendly match against Mexico on October 7 before the Nations League double header against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Italy.

Koeman was originally scheduled to remain in the post through Euro 2020 but tournament was rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic and he opted not to pass up the chance to take over at Barca.

Barcelona utility Sergi Roberto said he crossed his fingers that superstar captain Lionel Messi would remain at Camp Nou.

Messi stunned the world last month when he informed Barca of his intention to depart the LaLiga giants, with the 33-year-old intending to trigger a clause in his contract to walk away on a free transfer at the end of last season.

However, the validity of such a stipulation was murky due to the campaign being extended by the coronavirus pandemic, and six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi ultimately opted to remain in Catalonia rather than challenge Barcelona in a legal battle.

Asked about Messi heading into 2020-21, Roberto told RAC1: "I thought the same as all the Catalans, that it could not be true that Messi did not continue with us.

"I cannot imagine a Barca without Leo and I crossed my fingers so that he would stay. I see him training very well. He is a very professional player and I have no doubt that he will always give 100 per cent for this shirt and this club."

Ronald Koeman is at the helm as Barca prepare for their LaLiga opener against Villarreal on Sunday.

Koeman replaced Quique Setien, who was only appointed in January, after Barca were dethroned by bitter rivals Real Madrid in LaLiga and humiliated 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals last season.

"He [Koeman] has made us work a lot," Roberto said. "The training sessions have been very long.

"We are working very well. He tells the players things clearly and that is good for the team. I fully trust the coach and all the players."

As well as a new coach, there are changes with Barca's playing personnel following Arturo Vidal's move to Inter and Ivan Rakitic's return to Sevilla.

Full-back Nelson Semedo is also poised to join Wolves in the Premier League, while veteran forward Luis Suarez is reportedly in discussions to swap Barca for rivals Atletico Madrid.

"The president or the new coach must decide who they trust and who they will count on," added Roberto.

"I have a special appreciation for Suarez. He is a player who has given a lot all these years. If he ends up leaving, Atletico will be much stronger."

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman has told Riqui Puig he should leave the club on loan.

Puig, 21, has been linked with a move from Barca, and played no part in Saturday's 1-0 Joan Gamper Trophy win over Elche at Camp Nou.

Koeman said while Puig was part of his plans, the midfielder should look for short-term opportunities elsewhere.

"I've told [Riqui Puig] that he has a future here, but it depends on the player," he said, via Marca.

"I'd recommend that he went out on loan.

"At 20 years of age, the young players have to play. They can't get stuck for a period of time.

"We've got three weeks and we've got competition."

Antoine Griezmann's early goal helped Barca past Elche, as the forward, Ansu Fati, Lionel Messi and Philippe Coutinho all started.

Coutinho is back from his loan spell at Bayern Munich and Koeman talked up the playmaker.

"Let's hope we can see a great version of him. For me, he's a great player," he said.

"He works well physically and with the ball. He's an important player for the team."

Barcelona will begin their LaLiga season against Villarreal on September 27.

Former Barcelona midfielder Bernd Schuster said he can see the embattled club winning LaLiga but little else in 2020-21.

Barca are coming off a trophy-less season and superstar captain Lionel Messi's unsuccessful attempt to leave Camp Nou.

President Josep Maria Bartomeu is also under increasing pressure following Messi's transfer request.

As Barca prepare for their LaLiga opener against Villarreal on September 26, ex-Real Madrid player and head coach Schuster told Onda Cero: "I see Barca winning LaLiga but little else.

"The radical overhaul at Barca included selling Messi. That's what I believe the people at the club thought." 

Ronald Koeman is at the helm after Barca opted to sack head coach Quique Setien, who had only replaced Ernesto Valverde in January.

Barca were dethroned by bitter rivals Madrid last season and humiliated 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.

"When a new coach arrives at a club, you can't overhaul the squad. It's a mistake because they might be forced to stay and you're off to a bad start," German Schuster, who won LaLiga and five other trophies during his time at Barca from 1980 to 1988, said.

"Barca are going through a tough moment and a radical change was needed. But this transition period might take a couple of years."

Luis Suarez will still have a place in Barcelona's squad if he does not leave Camp Nou during the transfer window, says head coach Ronald Koeman.

Uruguay striker Suarez has been heavily tipped with an exit as part of an overhaul of the first-team squad by Koeman, who replaced Quique Setien in the wake of Barca's humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.

It was expected the experienced forward would move to Serie A champions Juventus, though that deal has reportedly been complicated by the length of time required to obtain an Italian passport.

Suarez was again absent from Barca's squad for Wednesday's 3-1 friendly win over Girona but Koeman insists he would not be frozen out if a move fails to come to fruition. 

"I've spoken to him about his future and we are waiting to see whether or not he leaves, we still don't know," Koeman told Catalan network TV3 after the win over Girona.

"But we respect every contract here and if in the end he does not find a club and he stays, he will be just like any other player in the squad."

While Suarez's future remains shrouded in doubt, Philippe Coutinho is seemingly going to be afforded a second chance under Koeman.

The Brazil midfielder spent last season on loan at Bayern and was expected to find a new home for the coming season but has scored in friendly wins over Gimnastic and Girona, while he started in the latter fixture.

"He is in high spirits at the moment, training and playing well," Koeman said when asked about Coutinho. 

"He has great quality. We must bear in mind that he needs the support of the coach and the fans."

Barca have one final warm-up fixture against Elche in the Joan Gamper Trophy on Saturday before starting their LaLiga campaign at home to Villarreal the following weekend.

Neither Luis Suarez nor Arturo Vidal were included in the Barcelona squad for a friendly against Girona on Wednesday as the pair remain the subject of transfer speculation.

New Barca coach Ronald Koeman is leading an overhaul of the first-team squad at Camp Nou following their humiliating 8-2 Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich under previous boss Quique Setien.

Lionel Messi is to remain with the Blaugrana despite pushing for a move, but team-mates Suarez and Vidal, both 33, have reportedly been told they can leave.

Suarez appeared set for a move to Juventus, joining Messi's great rival Cristiano Ronaldo, although reports have since suggested that deal has run into problems due to the length of time required to obtain an Italian passport.

Vidal, on the other hand, is said to be closing on his own Serie A move, linking up with Antonio Conte – his former Juve coach – at Inter.

Barca's latest squad included Messi and the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho but had no room for Suarez or Vidal.

The duo had also been absent for the previous friendly against Gimnastic.

After playing Girona, Koeman's charges take on Elche in the Joan Gamper Trophy and then belatedly begin their LaLiga campaign at home to Villarreal on September 26.

Ronald Koeman said Barcelona must sell before they can think about signing Lyon captain Memphis Depay as the head coach expects to start the LaLiga season with no additions to the squad.

Depay has been tipped to reunite with former Netherlands coach Koeman at Barca following his exploits for Ligue 1 outfit and Champions League semi-finalists Lyon.

However, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas – prior to Tuesday's 2-1 loss against Montpellier – claimed Barca cannot afford to buy Depay due to their finances amid the coronavirus crisis.

Koeman, who has replaced Quique Setien at Camp Nou, was asked about former Manchester United forward Depay amid talk of a €25million transfer and he told Fox Sports Netherlands: "For Depay to arrive, you must first sell."

Barca have been linked with a number of players following a miserable 2019-20 campaign, which saw the Spanish powerhouse dethroned by bitter rivals Real Madrid in LaLiga and embarrassed 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.

After receiving Miralem Pjanic in a swap deal that sent Arthur to Serie A champions Juventus, Barca continue to be linked with Inter star Lautaro Martinez.

Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum has emerged as a possible target for Barca, while former star Thiago Alcantara has also been linked with a move from Bayern.

However, Koeman said: "We're working towards the new season and I think we will go into it with the same group of players that we have now for pre-season."

Barca will open their 2020-21 LaLiga campaign at home to Unai Emery's Villarreal on September 26.

Lionel Messi is set to take to the field for Barca following a turbulent off-season, which saw the superstar captain try to leave the club.

Linked to Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Inter and Juventus, six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi decided to stay after handing in a transfer request amid frustration with Barca's board.

Asked about the situation involving Messi, former Barca defender Koeman added: "That has passed me reasonably well. That was mainly a conflict between Messi and the club.

"I have spoken to Messi since then and we will continue as usual." 

Ronald Koeman explained why Barcelona need to change from their traditional 4-3-3 formation after enjoying a winning start as head coach.

The Blaugrana beat Gimnastic 3-1 in a friendly match at Estadi Johan Cruyff on Saturday, their first outing since Koeman took over from Quique Setien.

With Lionel Messi captaining the team for the first time since announcing he will stay at the club, Barca scored through Ousmane Dembele and a penalty each from Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho, with Javier Bonilla getting a goal for the Segunda B side.

Koeman changed all 11 players at half-time but stuck with a 4-2-3-1 set-up, a system he appears likely to keep for the start of the LaLiga season.

Explaining that decision, the former Netherlands boss told Barca TV: "The midfield system is a little different to previous seasons but the team has the quality to do that and do it well.

"We're looking to move the ball much quicker high up the pitch to break the lines [of the opposition], to create space and generate more dangerous [situations] so the team scores goals.

"It was our first match in pre-season and that is why everyone only played 45 minutes. They need to build rhythm and play with intensity. It was a little better in the second half than the first. Not picking up any injuries was also very important as we looked to set the tempo in the match. That was more important than the final result.

"All the boys did well and we saw some who hadn't played before. There are always things which can be improved upon but, in general, we are very happy with how the players did after just two weeks of training.

"It isn't a normal six-week pre-season. We've only got four weeks and some even less because they've gone away with their national teams or been injured.

"It's important to integrate everyone. It's complicated because all we want is to build up fitness and over the next two weeks add a more tactical side ahead of a complicated league season."

Barca's next friendly match is against Girona on Wednesday.

Lionel Messi's decision to stay has given Barcelona a huge boost ahead of the new season, says new coach Ronald Koeman.

After initially telling Barca he wished to leave after a trophyless campaign, and amid frustration with the Camp Nou board, Messi performed a U-turn and elected to stay with the Catalan giants.

Messi's contract expires next year, with Barca having been desperate to keep hold of their superstar as they look to overhaul the squad under Koeman, who replaced Quique Setien last month.

Last season's runners-up kick off their LaLiga campaign against Villarreal on September 26, with friendlies against Gimnastic Tarragona and Girona taking place in the meantime, and Koeman is delighted to have Messi on board for his maiden season as Blaugrana boss.

"It's great because everybody knows [Messi] is the best player in the world and to have that in your team is exceptional," Koeman told Barca's club media.

Messi returned to training on Monday, and Koeman said: "Okay, for us it's now important to have Leo in the best conditions to play, because there is no question about his quality.

"It's fantastic that he will be part of the season for Barcelona because everybody is really happy about that."

Ivan Rakitic is a big name to have already left Barca in this window, with the midfielder returning to Sevilla, while Luis Suarez has been heavily linked with a move to Juventus.

Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba are reportedly up for sale, though Koeman is happy with how his squad have been working in pre-season.

"I'm really happy about the performances of the players. They've worked really hard together," Koeman, who is looking to implement a more intense style of play, added.

"We know that it's a pre-season that is a little more complicated because some players have already been playing and some players have had more holidays.

"This pre-season is more difficult to have everybody in the best condition, but we need to play the first game in LaLiga against Villarreal. For that we have some friendlies and more training sessions and we need that because it’s a short period of the pre-season."

The first friendly comes against Gimnastic on Saturday.

Koeman said: "All the players will have 45 minutes – in 45 minutes they need to give intensity, what we like to see in a friendly. To score is not the most important, but yes in a tactical way we've spoken about different things – when we have the ball what we need to do.

"When our rival has the ball, what we need to do to press them and these are all tactical details that we would like to see."

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