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Koeman expects more from Dest, backs him to succeed at Barcelona

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Sergino Dest and the entire Barcelona backline is coming off a horrid outing against Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League and will now aim to show a short memory starting on Sunday.

Barcelona faces off with Cadiz in La Liga action, its first match since a 4-1 drubbing to PSG last week at the Camp Nou. Dest got the start at right back, but was unable to help stop PSG star Kylian Mbappe from stealing the show with a hat trick.

The U.S. Men’s National Team defender has showed promising signs at times this season, but overall isn’t producing at a high level regularly in Ronald Koeman’s squad. Koeman has continued giving Dest chances in the starting lineup and has started hinting at what he can improve on to be a top player for the club.

“Maybe because he has not been playing regularly and because he has had some injuries, that was an influence on his participation in the team,” Koeman said in Saturday’s press conference with reporters.

“But now he is OK, he’s physically OK. He is [20]-years-old but he needs to learn, he needs to be more aggressive, he needs to be more concentrated. He had too many periods in the game where he’s not 100% focused. We spoke to him about this.”

Dest impressed during his time at Ajax which caught the eye of Barcelona, giving him a major opportunity at one of the world’s biggest clubs. The 20-year-old has been in and out of the lineup recently through injuries, but since has recovered to play a part in the Champions League Round of 16.

With Barcelona aiming to pick up some silverware this season, Dest will be counted on to produce in many more big matches over the next few months. After catching Koeman’s attention on both the club and international level, the full back will now try to start a run of consistency as Barcelona aims to get back at their level of success.

“He’s a young player, that’s good, he can learn, but he needs to learn,” Koeman said.

“With all the positives he can bring to the team, he [also] needs to learn it is a big step to play for Barcelona than to play in Holland. He needs time, he needs advice, but it starts with the player himself.”

Barcelona faces Cadiz on Sunday before matches against Eibar and Sevilla over the next week.

Comments

  1. Dest was pretty much worked over by Mbappe, but then Mbappe may be one of the top 5 strikers in the world. He has exposed a lot of defenders. I don’t know if the US has ever had a defender who could stop someone like Mbappe. Dest is still very young and often defenders don’t really reach their potential until their mid-20’s. He’ll improve, so I’m not worried.

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    • don’t y’all have cognitive dissonance about 2026 dreams vs a defender who gets roasted by mbappe? or mexico? or diego costa? if you don’t stop them you don’t join the elite. i get working on a young player but he has some schoolboy type problems eg flinching, diving in.

      and i am not saying we don’t have the offense for 2026. i am saying we don’t yet have the defense assembled. but keep telling me we can win the world with people who can’t handle tough assignments. anyhow, there is a reason i encourage the future talk in the direction of players like richards and cannon instead.

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  2. Anyone watch the match vs PSG? Dest had to man mark Mbappe the whole match!? Mbappe shoved Dest out of the way in 1st half while trying to get in position for a corner. Ref made it his business to say something to Mbappe. In today’s game, the majority of LWs are right-footed, which go up against RBs, so Dest will play against the best LWs/strikers in the world in Champions League. I think, he’ll be better once his 1st year @ Barca is behind him. I wish some of that Ol fashion toughness would blend well with the technical ability this generation has.

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    • Playing a tough schedule doesn’t inherently make you a better player. It exposes the good and bad — in PSG’s case a lot of bad — and you then need to do the hard work to fix the bad. My experience back in select was a lot of teams said they learned something losing to us but none came back ready to beat us the next season. It’s easy to say and harder to do, and the same crap was trotted out for Yedlin, Newcastle was going to fix that too.

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    • yes of course I watched it…Dest is not a good defender playing left back…this has been exposed, discussed, denied, then exposed again, discussed again, denied again by some. Hope he can improve. Remember when CP exposed him big in CL play after they had been in USA camp together? CP went off on him, like he learned in camp he could dust him, and did. Imperative making some good points imo. Good luck Sergino, still pulling for you

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      • i think he is definitely not a left back but this was him exploited on the right. i question whether he’s really more of an advanced wing attack player. he has some positive qualities but one has to be able to defend his position and not flinch or dive in. to be fair, this is a broader complaint about many of GB’s defender choices, that so many seem chosen for slickness instead of marking, which is a risk as the level of opposition rises. it will exaggerate the blowouts in our favor but also cost us goals in more competitive contests.

  3. This is Dest’s first season with Barca and he’s had some injuries which have made it difficult to get into a consistent form. He, like most of our USMNT players, are extremely young and will have some growing pains….it’s all part of the process.
    Once Dest fully adjusts to his teammates and the league he should be fine.

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    • He is a professional soccer player with a schoolboy’s issue with flinching at fakes. His problem is usually corrected by U16 or you play someplace else. High level professional play is a tough place to try and correct basic issues. Flinching raises a basic issue of are you destined to be a defender. He really has more like a wing mid’s tool box, as does Robinson.

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  4. It’s really hard to be inked into the starting line up, or to make a case about lack of opportunity when you are injured half the time. Confidence is earned through consistent performance over a period of time- week in and week out. That has yet to happen this year. Like… pretty much everyone, I love everything Pulisic brings when healthy and am very much a fan. The unfortunate truth is that at this point in time, he simply can not be counted on to be available. Above all else, he needs to take the time needed get himself 100% physically right. The rest will take care of itself if he can do that. It’s certainly not been lack of ability nor bias that has played into time on the bench under Favre, Lampard, Tuchel , but a cascade of ailments over the course of years.

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  5. If only Pulisic were afforded such coaching and confidence. Hard to gain a spot back or become fit when sitting on the bench. Hopefully Dest will take hold off the opportunity.

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