Frenkie de Jong Says He Can Play 'Much Better' for Barcelona, Talks New Manager

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJanuary 24, 2020

IBIZA, SPAIN - JANUARY 22: Frenkie de Jong of FC Barcelona looks on during the Copa del Rey Round of 32 match between UD Ibiza and FC Barcelona at Estadi Municipal de Can Misses on January 22, 2020 in Ibiza, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Frenkie de Jong believes he can play "much better" for Barcelona and has said he would give his start to life at the club a rating of six out of 10.

The midfielder made the move from Ajax to the Blaugrana in the summer having developed into one of the best playmakers in the game with the Dutch giants. 

De Jong's start to his Barcelona career has been mixed, as he struggled to settle into the team and find a regular position. The Netherlands star will now be out to impress new manager Quique Setien and cement his place in the side.

Per Ivan San Antonio and Javier Giraldo of Sport, De Jong assessed the first few months of his Barcelona career:

"I am really enjoying it. My dream as a kid was always to play for Barca. I am really happy to be here. We can improve, of course, like many other things, but at the moment I am really enjoying it. 

" ... [I would give myself six out of 10]. For now, six or a six-and-a-half. I have played a lot of minutes and I've more or less played well, I am happy, but I know my performances could be much better. "

On Thursday, it was one year since the Blaugrana confirmed the acquisition of De Jong:

De Jong was crucial to Ajax enjoying an incredible 2018-19. They romped to the Eredivisie title, won the KNVB Cup and made it to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League, missing out on the final after Tottenham Hotspur scored a dramatic stoppage-time goal in the second leg.

While his role was clear at Ajax last season, he failed to establish a rhythm under former manager Ernesto Valverde.

Per ESPN FC, De Jong was also dismissed for the first time in the first game of the new year:

That ban meant De Jong missed the first game new manager Quique Setien took charge of, which was a 1-0 win over Granada on Sunday. The player was also asked for his thoughts on the managerial change.

"I don't know. Normally when you change coach it's not a good sign," he said. "I think we could have played better, but we weren't doing that bad, either. ... We did well with Valverde, and I hope we can keep on doing well with Setien."

Football writer Musa Okwonga expects De Jong to shine under the guidance of the new coach:

De Jong started Barcelona's Copa del Rey 2-1 win over Ibiza on Wednesday and brilliantly set up Antoine Griezmann's first goal with a pinpoint pass.

Setien's style of football is centred around controlling the game through possession and resourceful use of the ball. For De Jong, who is so technically adept and cerebrally sharp, the appointment should elevate his play to another level at the Camp Nou.  

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