Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Koeman leaves Barcelona news conference after delivering statement amid mounting pressure

SoccerNews in La Liga 22 Sep 2021

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Ronald Koeman did not answer questions at Barcelona’s news conference on Wednesday, instead reading out a pre-prepared statement.

Barca were held to a 1-1 draw by Granada at Camp Nou on Monday, with Koeman’s team resorting to desperate measures to rescue a point courtesy of centre-back Ronald Araujo.

With Lionel Messi having left due to Barca’s dire financial circumstances, the Blaugrana also allowed Antoine Griezmann to rejoin Atletico Madrid late in August and look far off mounting a title challenge in LaLiga this season.

They also lost their opening Champions League match, going down 3-0 to Bayern Munich.

Koeman seems to be under mounting pressure, with president Joan Laporta reportedly keen to replace the Dutchman. Roberto Martinez has been touted as a potential replacement.

However, reports suggest Koeman would be set for a large pay-off should he be dismissed, casting doubt over Barca’s ability to change coach.

Koeman was set to face the media on Wednesday ahead of Thursday’s league meeting with Cadiz, yet instead he refused to answer questions and read from a statement, urging Barca fans to have patience with the process and insisting the club’s hierarchy was behind him.

“Good morning everyone, the club is with me in a situation of rebuilding,” Koeman said. 

“The financial situation of the club is linked to the sporting activities and vice versa, this means that we have to rebuild the team without being able to make any big financial investments.

“This needs time, the young talent today can end up being the next big stars in just the next few years. The good thing is that young people will be able to have opportunities like Xavi and [Andres] Iniesta had in their day, but we must ask for patience.

“What’s more, to remain in a high ranking in LaLiga it would be a success, this is a great footballing school for this talent.

“In the Champions League you cannot expect miracles. The defeat against Bayern Munich must be taken from this perspective. 

“The process that we’re in right now, the staff deserves unconditional support in words and in actions. I know the press recognise this process, it’s not the first time in Barcelona’s history that this has happened.

“We count on your support in these difficult times, we as a squad and players are very happy with the support we had from the fans like we had against Granada.”

Heading into Thursday’s match, Barca have failed to win five of their last eight LaLiga games (W3 D4 L1), as many as in their previous 24 matches in the competition (W19 D3 L2).

They also have poor recent history against Cadiz, failing to win in their last two LaLiga games against the Andalusian side (D1 L1). If they do not win this match, it will be their longest winless run against them in the competition.

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