Barcelona 4-0 Villarreal: Ronald Koeman gets off to a flyer in first match in charge with Ansu Fati hitting a brace while Lionel Messi scores penalty
- Barcelona thrashed Villarreal 4-0 in Ronald Koeman’s first game in charge
- The impressive Ansu Fati scored a brace as Barcelona started league season
- Lionel Messi scored a penalty, while Villarreal’s Pau Torres scored an own goal
Ansu Fati helped Barcelona put their tumultuous summer behind them with two goals in 18 minutes and gave Ronald Koeman an emphatic win on his managerial debut at the Camp Nou.
For all the talk of Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi it was the 17-year-old who wrote all the headlines with a brilliant first from Jordi Alba’s cross.
He scored again three minutes later, this time from a Philippe Coutinho pass. The former Liverpool player was allowed to stroll through Villarreal’s midfield before releasing his team-mate, and Fati was lethal once more.
Ansu Fati scored a brace as Barcelona beat Villarreal 4-0 in Ronald Koeman’s first game
The hugely impressive 17-year-old showed impressive composure as Barcelona prevailed
Lionel Messi scored from the penalty spot as Barcelona secured a comfortable victory
He then drew a foul from Mario Gaspar and Messi stepped up to shoot the penalty just under the dive of Sergio Asenjo in the Villarreal goal.
Villarreal completed a nightmare first half when Pau Torres put through his own net from Messi’s cross.
A delighted Koeman praised Fati and the way his team had responded in his first game in charge.
He said: ‘I’m really happy with the way we played in the first half. We interchanged positions and we took our chances.
‘Ansu is a young player who needs to find a level of consistency but he has showed once again today that he has a great future at Barcelona.’
There was a word in the ear from the manager as he was taken off in the second half. Koeman added: ‘I criticised him in the last pre-season friendly and I said to him as he came off that today the level was definitely there.’
It was an impressive first game in charge for new Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman
Fati is congratulated by his Barcelona team-mates after he scored his side’s second goal
Asked about playing without a number nine in the absence of Suarez or a Suarez replacement, Koeman said: ‘We have got the players to play this system. We gave the ball away too much in the second half but that was the only negative.
It’s always good to have one (an out-and-out centre-forward) but we can play perfectly well without one.’
There were no further goals in the second half but Koeman was able to give debuts to Francisco Trincao, Pedri, and Miralem Pjanic on what was a very satisfactory first start as coach.
Barcelona: Neto; Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Busquets (Pjanic 78), De Jong; Griezmann (Trincao 78), Coutinho (Pedri 70), Fati (Dembele 70); Messi
Subs: Pena, Rafinha, Araujo, Tenas, Ramos, Firpo, Puig, Alena
Goals: Fati 15, 19, Messi 35 (pen), Torres 45 (o.g.)
Villarreal: Asenjo; Gaspar, Albiol (Funes Mori 84), Torres, Estupinan; Chukwueze (Kubo 74), Parejo, Coquelin (Trigueros 46), Gomez; Moreno (Bacca 84), Alcacer (Iborra 46).
Subs: Bacca, Baena, Rulli, Cabrera, Jaume Costa
Philippe Coutinho, back from his loan spell, caught the eye and also provided an assist
Villarreal defender Pau Torres scored an own goal as his side suffered a heavy defeat
There was frustration for Villarreal manager Unai Emery, whose team were disappointing
This was supposed to be a tricky first test for the Dutch coach he lost his first game in charge of the Netherlands team 1-0 to England and failed to win his debuts on the bench at Everton and Southampton. But Unai Emery’s side served up their worst performance of the seaoson.
Emery has now lost all 13 of his visits to the Camp Nou with six different teams. His decision to play 4-4-2 with Dani Parejo and former Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin in midfield failed miserably.
For Barça it was the prefect way to heal the wounds of their 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich 44 days earlier and their surrender of the domestic title last season.
‘Ansu has a great future,’ repeated Koeman. His display even helped bring a smile back to the face of Messi.
‘I’m just trying to take every opportunity I get’ said the teenager after the man-of-the-match performance. As is the way for Barcelona of late every silver lining has a cloud attached to it.
The Spain sensation still only has two years left on his contract and is yet to renegotiate his deal after being giving a first-team squad number. Barcelona will need to get him to sign a long-term deal sooner rather than later.
Recap the action as it unfolded below.