Ronald Koeman will have been under no illusion that a “clean” was in order during a season of transition at Barcelona, according to Gaizka Mendieta.
Barca great Koeman departed his role as Netherlands coach to return to Camp Nou and pick up the pieces left from the short Quique Setien era, which ended in a dismal 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League in August.
It has been a baptism of fire for Koeman as he had to endure an ugly transfer saga involving Lionel Messi, who opted to stay but aired displeasure at the departure of Luis Suarez – Barca’s third-highest ever goalscorer – to LaLiga rivals Atletico Madrid.
Arturo Vidal, another Messi ally, headed for the exit door as well, as did Ivan Rakitic, with Koeman overseeing the beginning of a period of change.
Koeman has made a promising start in tough circumstances, taking seven points from a possible nine to start the new season.
Former Spain star Mendieta, who spent the 2002-03 campaign at Barca, has been impressed so far.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) October 15, 2020
“There will always be critics when you are in any club and especially in a big club because the impact will always be bigger,” Mendieta told Stats Perform.
Speaking at the launch of Player 4 Player, a consultancy in which he is a leading figure, Mendieta said Koeman had to be forthright from the moment he arrived.
“I believe he already knew when he signed for Barca what he had to go through – a transition season where he had to communicate some players about their futures and he had to do a kind of clean,” Mendieta said.
“It doesn’t make it easier, but at least you know what you are going through when you arrive.
“And on the other side, I think he is doing good. Obviously when you win everything it is easier in football.
“But overall from the outside – it is true that we are speaking on our feelings from the outside – it looks like the team has dealt well with his ideas and the relationship between him and the team works.
“It is always important in any team, and especially in a big team like Barcelona. And it looks like it does work so far.”
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