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Ronald Koeman delighted with Barcelona’s ‘wonderful’ fighting spirit

Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman hailed the “wonderful” fighting spirit of his side after a 2-0 win in Osasuna kept up the pressure at the top of LaLiga.

Koeman’s team recorded a fourth league win in five games to move two points behind leaders Atletico Madrid ahead of Sunday’s derby with rivals Real.

Jordi Alba gave the visitors the lead on the half-hour, firing in an angled drive following a sweeping cross-field ball from Lionel Messi.

The Argentina playmaker then teed up substitute Ilaix Moriba for the 18-year-old to fire in a late second – his first Barcelona goal.

“We are trying to win every game, but that is the most difficult,” Koeman told Barcelona’s club media following the win in Pamplona.

“In the past few months we have a great run and are making good wins, important wins, which is always good, but the fighting spirit is really wonderful.”

Koeman added: “It wasn’t our best game, but we were OK and we deserved to win. I’m happy.

“The run of form is important. Let’s hope we can stay on the right track.

“Any result tomorrow (in the Madrid derby) suits us.”

Moriba’s late strike saw him become Barcelona’s fifth-youngest goalscorer and Koeman hopes to see more.

“Every time he comes into the team, he adds something,” the Barca boss said.

Barcelona's Ilaix Moriba (left) celebrates with his team-mate Lionel Messi after scoring
Teenager Ilaix Moriba, left, celebrated his first Barcelona goal with a late strike (Alvaro Barrientos/AP)

“He is good on the ball and is a strong boy physically. He’s pushing to be in the first team more often.

“We’re really proud of being able to bring younger players through the ranks. We do it because they deserve to have opportunities.

“As a coach, I’ve always given opportunities to youngsters because they are a club’s future.”

Barcelona are due to hold their presidential elections on Sunday, with Joan Laporta, Antoni Freixa and Victor Font the candidates to replace Josep Maria Bartomeu, who resigned in October along with his board of directors.

Koeman said: “We have been without a president for a long time.

“It is important that one of them comes and talk to the people. Let’s see what happens tomorrow, what the members decide.”

Barcelona players celebrate their win over Osasuna in Pamplona
Barcelona continued their fine form with a 2-0 win in Pamplona (Alvaro Barrientos/AP)

Next week, Barcelona face the second leg of their Champions League tie with Paris St Germain, which they trail 4-1.

“We need to rest and we have to prepare for that game,” Koeman added.

“I don’t want to say it’s impossible, but we’re going to go there to get a good result.”

Osasuna coach Jagoba Arrasate accepted his side had not made the most of their chances.

“I have the feeling that we made their goalkeeper work harder than ours did,” Arrasate said on the club’s official website. “But in the end, it’s also about efficiency.

“We had a moment, at 0-1, when it looked like we could tie the game with crosses from the flanks, but it didn’t last long and it wasn’t possible.

“We have to pick ourselves up now because we have another game on Saturday.”

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