Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Koeman uncertain over future as Barcelona coach hints at lack of support from club

SoccerNews in La Liga 21 May 2021

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Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman does not know if he will still be in charge of the club for next season.

The Catalan giants head into Saturday’s final LaLiga match of 2020-21 against Eibar knowing they cannot finish any higher than third place.

After a mixed start to the season, a 19-match unbeaten run in the top flight propelled Barca back into title contention as leaders Atletico Madrid began to falter.

However, Koeman has overseen just three wins from their past eight league games, meaning they are five points behind Real Madrid and seven adrift of Atleti heading into matchday 38.

Barca’s recent league form, coupled with their Champions League last-16 exit to Paris Saint-Germain, has left Koeman facing serious questions over his future despite winning the Copa del Rey in April.

President Joan Laporta has reportedly decided to appoint a new coach for next season after becoming frustrated with the way Barca allowed their promising title challenge to collapse in recent weeks.

Koeman expects to speak with Laporta after the game at Ipurua but, although he wants to stay on at Camp Nou, he knows matters are largely out of his hands.

“I don’t know if I will continue,” he said on Friday. “I haven’t spoken with the president. We’ve agreed to do so after the end of the season. 

“We’ll see. I want to stay and complete my contract. Things have to change. The president has the last word.

“I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen. I will speak with the president. I love the club a lot and if the club thinks I’m not the one to lead the team, they say so.

“I give my opinion and that’s it. Until I talk with [Laporta], I can’t answer more.

“It’s the last month. You have to respect the coach and the players more. I understand they’re bothered because in the last few days they haven’t deserved the treatment the press has given them.”

Koeman went on to suggest he has not felt as though he has had the full backing of the club during a recent run of one win in five games, which culminated in a shock 2-1 home defeat to Celta Vigo that killed Barca’s remaining title hopes.

“In the final part of the season, I haven’t felt [that support] because we haven’t spoken about the future. I understand where I am, at a club like this,” he said.

“Despite the changes we’re making, I’ve always stood up. I’ve been the only spokesman on the club’s behalf in many moments and that should be recognised. If, in the end, we think we need a new coach or new players, perfect, but you have to communicate.”

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