Barcelona boss Koeman praises Depay-Griezmann connection after Stuttgart success

Barcelona boss Koeman praises Depay-Griezmann connection after Stuttgart success

Ronald Koeman was delighted with the connection between Memphis Depay and Antoine Griezmann during Barcelona’s 3-0 win over Stuttgart on Saturday.

Barca maintained their perfect pre-season record, making it three wins from three at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.

Depay, who joined the La Liga giants on a free transfer in June after his departure from Lyon, opened the scoring against the Bundesliga outfit in emphatic fashion after 21 minutes.

The Dutchman controlled Frenkie de Jong’s diagonal ball into the box, before flicking it over the head of defender Pascal Stenzel and firing past Fabian Bredlow in the Stuttgart goal.

Following his second goal in as many games, Depay then played a key role as Barca doubled the lead 15 minutes later – a clever backheel releasing Griezmann to cross for youngster Yusuf Demir to tap home.

Koeman praised the impact of his compatriot and was particularly impressed by his link-up with the France star.

“Surely people know what Memphis is about,” he said.

“He has been at [Manchester] United, the last few years at Lyon and above all, he has shown himself to be a goalscorer. 

“He showed [that quality] with his goal, strength and speed he brings to the team.

“His connection with Antoine is very good and that gives us a lot.

“They are two players who can play in different positions in the attack. We’re going to have competition.”

Barcelona have scored 10 goals in their three pre-season encounters, having beaten Gimnastic 4-0 and Girona 3-1.

They complete their preparations for the forthcoming La Liga campaign – which begins at home to Real Sociedad on August 15 – with friendlies against Salzburg and Juventus.

While acknowledging there is still room for improvement, Koeman believes his side are in good shape.  

“It was a great game against a competitive team with more preparation,” he added.

“We have shown that we are on the right track. Physically, we are going to need more, but the players are working hard and well.

“We have shown a lot of quality in many phases. Attitude, dedication and ambition have been very important. We’ve been able to score more goals, we’ve had chances.”

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