Koeman: Barcelona need a new striker

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Ronald Koeman said Barcelona was missing a number nine as they scored just once of 20 shots on goal in a 1-0 win over Huesca, and asked the club to sign a new striker.

Lionel Messi returned to Barça after recovering from an ankle injury and Koeman opted to play it in attack alongside Martin Braithwaite and Ousmane Dembele.

The trio tried 15 shots between them, but it was Frenkie de Jong who scored the decisive goal, overturning Messi’s pass to the net in the 27th minute.

Koeman, who sent Antoine Griezmann for Braithwaite with nine minutes remaining, admitted he lacks a natural striker to lead the line between the creative talents of Messi and Dembélé.

“I trust every player on our team,” Koeman told reporters. “But if we choose to have three midfielders, there is room for three forwards.

“With Leo we bet on someone with great depth like Dembélé, and we have to choose between Martin or Antoine at the top and Martin has done it.

“It is a nine what we lack in these games, but it does not mean anything regarding the replacement of Antoine. We have a lot of games and we need all the players.

“We have said several times, at the beginning of the season, that we need someone at the top to have more competition and more goals, more effectiveness, but that depends on many things.”

Koeman said he believes that improving his attacking options will help reduce the pressure on the Barcelona defense, which absorbed waves of attacks from Huesca as the hosts sought a draw at the end of El Alcoraz.

Barcelona hit with just seven of their 20 shots on goal and Koeman said they must close games earlier to avoid nervousness at the end.

“The second half was not that brilliant,” Koeman admitted.

“In the end we suffered a bit because they tried to create and there have been crosses where we have defended well. If you don’t close the game before, you always suffer ”.

Facing the LaLiga clashes with Athletic Bilbao and Granada, and a semifinal of the Spanish Super Cup against Real Sociedad, Koeman added: “This month is very important for our aspirations because we have many matches away and if we win them I think we can fight.

“We have come out strong, very focused, and that is the main base we need. If we have these two things, we will improve with the ball and if we can also improve in front of the goal we can have a very important and good year ”.

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