The German didn’t have anything to do, but at a vital point, he made a good saving to help his side prevail.
In Barcelona’s struggling 2-0 win against Elche on Sunday, Ronald Koeman thanked Marc-Andre ter Stegen for a critical save, claiming that the club is “lucky” to have a quality goalkeeper.
Thanks to Frenkie de Jong’s shot, the Catalan giants were 1-0 up when, at the beginning of the second half, Ter Stegen denied Elche forward Emiliano Rigoni.
Thanks to a goal from Riqui Puig, Barca would seal the points late on, but Koeman was swift to stress his goalkeeper’s contribution at what was a pivotal moment in the game.
They had no chance — they had just one shot, and it came from our defense’s huge mistake,” Koeman said.
“Except in the one-on-one [chance], Ter Stegen was really good. Luckily, we have a good goalie, or they should have equalized there.
“Defensively, we did fine aside from that error. The best thing about today was our ball-free press and results. We deserved to win there.
The outcome ensures it is a happy end to Barca’s breathless week, which saw them play extra-time twice in the Spanish Super Cup against Athletic Bilbao and in the Copa del Rey against Cornella.
Koeman said, “I’m very happy with how we won [the game],” In the last few days, we’ve had a lot of matches and we’ve kept our attention.
“We were stronger than our rivals. We’ve been careful. We’ve taken ownership. It was hard to score because behind the ball they had loads of guys. We pressed well, though.
The Dutchman was also satisfied with De Jong’s contribution, who, after his high-profile move from Ajax two years ago, has not always reached top form in a Barcelona shirt.
Ousmane Dembele, Martin Braithwaite and Antoine Griezmann played up front with Lionel Messi suspended, while Koeman was keen to emphasize the importance of benchmarks from other outlets being scored.
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“The three forwards aren’t enough; we need the midfielders to score too,
” he said. It’s a positive thing that he [De Jong] scores and supports. He’s progressing. We want the midfielder to stand up and get into the box.
Despite the victory, Koeman, with Atletico Madrid leaders seven points ahead of his side with two games in hand, played down the possibility of Barca winning the La Liga crown.
“We’ll try [to challenge for the title], but Atletico are still strong,”We will try [to challenge for the title], but Atletico is still strong.