Frenkie de Jong BarcelonaGetty

'I was mediocre' - Barcelona ace De Jong accepts Koeman criticism of performance against Sevilla

Barcelona star Frenkie de Jong has accepted criticism from head coach Ronald Koeman for his performance against Sevilla, admitting he was “mediocre”.

The Catalans dropped their first points of the season at home against the Andalusians last weekend in a 1-1 draw.

While Sevilla instigated a high pressing game that complicated life for the Camp Nou side, it was De Jong who bore the brunt of the criticism publicly from Koeman in the aftermath.

Article continues below

“He lost too many balls and has not been fine like his other team-mates,” the new Barca coach said in the post-match press conference.

It was a critique that midfielder De Jong admits was true ahead of the Netherlands' match against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Sunday.

“I didn’t play at the top level against Sevilla,” he admitted to the media. “I was only mediocre. How is my form? We’ll see, but I feel good.”

He warned his international team-mates to expect a tricky encounter away from home before a clash with Italy on Wednesday.

“We have to be realistic and not expect the Netherlands to dominate and win every game,” he said. “We want to aspire to that.

“I think we have many players who are already world class and are already first rate. We have other talented young players who can grow with the squad.

"We are a very good team but when you see some details you realise that there are still aspects in which we have to grow. We need to improve tactically and in our understanding.

“We want to show Bosnia that there is still magic with us.”

The 23-year-old is in line for his 18th international cap, having made the breakthrough under Koeman in 2018 when he was still with Ajax. A year later, he made his big move to Barcelona after impressing in the Champions League, in which he helped the Amsterdam outfit to the semi-finals only to be undone at the last by Tottenham.

His first season with the Camp Nou side saw him feature on 42 occasions in all competitions and score two goals. He has played every minute of Barca’s three competitive fixtures at the start of the 2020-21 campaign.