MADRID, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- FC Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman on Saturday again asked for new signings as he prepares for Sunday's La Liga visit to Elche with several key players out of action.
Leo Messi serves the second game of his suspension following his sending off in the Spanish Supercup final, while Gerard Pique, Ansu Fati, Philippe Coutinho are all long-term absentees and full back Sergi Roberto is putting the finishing touches to his recovery from a serious muscle injury.
"I hope to recover players like Sergi Roberto soon, because we need fresh legs, especially if we suffer any more suspensions or injuries," Koeman said, adding that the club needed to make signings.
"When the substitutes have started, they have done well, but it's also true that we need more competition in some positions we need more competition... You know my position, we lack people, but it all depends on the economic situation of the club. If no one comes, I accept it and we will carry on," said Koeman.
The coach defended Sergino Dest, who has struggled for form in recent games, saying the former Ajax right back was "very young" and "had been injured".
And he also praised Ronald Araujo, who has been impressive in central defense. "He's played a lot of games, he's showing character and intensity in his game and although he has things to improve, he's doing very well," commented the Barca coach.
Koeman insisted that despite last weekend's 3-2 defeat in the Supercup to Athletic Club Bilbao, his side had done well in January.
"I've never played eight consecutive games away from home and apart from the Supercup we won the rest. The team has proved itself to be strong," he insisted.