Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman said his team’s 4-0 Champions League win in Ukraine over Dynamo Kyiv on Tuesday night gave off the right ‘image’, highlighting that the young players in the squad are hungry to succeed.
With Barça already in a healthy position in their group after three wins from the first three games, Koeman gambled by leaving Lionel Messi and Frenkie de Jong out of the squad.
But with Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto also missing through injury, it was a largely young side that took to the field in Kyiv. Indeed, there were first-team debuts for Oscar Mingueza, Konrad de la Fuente and Matheus Fernandes.
Maligned striker Martin Braithwaite also had a night to remember, scoring twice to treble his Barcelona goal tally since joining the club last January.
Given that Barca have had an extremely difficult start to the season, not helped by off-field issues at Camp Nou, and bizarrely have fewer points in La Liga than in the Champions League in twice as many games, Koeman was desperate for a response.
“The image was good. The team put in a lot of energy. There was a lack of effectiveness in the first half, but we dominated the second half and we played well,” Koeman is quoted as saying by Marca.
“We can be happy with the result. I liked the team performance. They worked hard and they pressed. The image is the one we want to give. All the players are hungry. The youngsters and all those who played made a good impression and the result it good.”
Aside from Braithwaite, Sergino Dest and Antoine Griezmann got the other Barcelona goals. Dest made history in becoming the first American player to score for the club.
Given that fellow American talent Konrad was also involved, it was a big night overall for U.S. soccer, further feeding to the notion of a golden generation ahead of the 2026 World Cup on home soil.