It’s been Koeman’s week of hell… but he’s relaxed knowing Barcelona can’t afford to sack him
PETE JENSON: Storming out of a press conference, seeing red on the sidelines and title hopes in ruins. Ronald Koeman’s week has been hell but he remains relaxed knowing Barcelona cannot afford the €12million to sack him
- Ronald Koeman was relaxed about his situation at Barcelona after the draw in Cadiz
- He is likely to receive a two-match suspension for his late red card on Thursday evening
- The international break can ultimately decide whether Benfica’s match is his last
- It is the club that has to take the next step, as Koeman says it as it is now
The coach reads a statement instead of answering questions from journalists; the club president admonishing his manager for saying the team can’t win the league; and the team then plays as a side that has no chance of winning the title – just another week in Barcelona.
When Barcelona sports director Ramon Planes was asked about Ronald Koeman’s future after the team fell two points behind Real Madrid on Thursday night, he said: “He is our coach and the next game is in just three days.”
It was another kick in the teeth for Koeman – Planes might as well have said we don’t have time to fire him.
Ronald Koeman read a press conference instead of answering journalists’ questions
After he finished reading his sheet of paper, Koeman left without answering any media questions
President Joan Laporta admonished his manager for saying the team cannot win the league
Koeman will not be in the technical room for the next two league games due to a two-game suspension he is likely to receive on Thursday evening for his late red card.
If he retains the lead, he will be on the bench for the away match in Europe against Benfica. The international break can ultimately decide whether this is his last game on the sidelines or not.
Koeman had greeted Barcelona president Joan Laporta at the hotel before Thursday’s game and said after the 0-0 tie in Cadiz: ‘I’m sure there will be days to talk about things.’
But when he exited Thursday night’s scoreless draw with Cadiz, he gave the waiting reporters a thumbs up and told them he was relaxed about the situation. He will owe around €12 million (£10.3 million) if the club sack him, and that may keep him relaxed.
The team then played as a side that has no chance of winning the title in the draw of Cadiz
Koeman will probably receive a two-game suspension for his late red card on Thursday evening
It is the club that has to take the next step. Until then, Koeman plans to tell it like it is: the team – decimated by the summer sales and the loss of Lionel Messi – will struggle to win anything this season.
They are currently seventh with a match in hand. If they stay there, they will play in the Europa Conference League next season.
Where once Messi was, is now Luuk de Jong. And all the while, Real Madrid have scored twice as much as the rest of the league and only Karim Benzema has scored as many goals as the entire Barca squad.
Koeman’s pre-written speech on Wednesday said the team would do well to finish in the upper echelons of the table. But captain Gerard Pique said after the 0-0 draw: “I’m not putting on the Barcelona shirt to try to finish second or third.”
Moments later, Koeman repeated in the press conference: ‘Of course we have to try to win, but we also have to be realistic. We are missing seven players from the first team!’
Where once Lionel Messi was (left) is now the Dutch striker Luuk de Jong (right)
The coach and his players are not on the same page, but many Barcelona supporters feel that it is Koeman who says it like it is and not Sergi Roberto who said after the game that Barcelona has a great squad.
Koeman’s late elimination at the Nuevo Mirandilla Stadium was the ridiculously chaotic final that deserved the week. It came so late that Koeman finally shook hands with his opponent before entering the tunnel as the final whistle had been blown.
In the referee’s report, Carlos del Cerro Grande explained that Koeman was sent off for “protesting a decision, shouting ‘the referee has to blow for that, the referee has to blow for that!'”
Koeman moaned afterwards: ‘In this country you are sent away for nothing. I didn’t lose it. I just complained because there were two balls on the field and the referee should have blown.’
Ansu Fati could be the savior and might get minutes on Sunday after almost a year of absence
For what it’s worth, the referee only has to blow for two balls on the field if one of them interferes with play, so Koeman was wrong. But he is right about one thing. This Barcelona does not look like a squad that can stay with the two Madrid clubs this season unless things change drastically very soon.
Ansu Fati could be the savior. He can get minutes on Sunday after being out for almost a year with a knee injury. It’s a lot to ask of the 18-year-old. The sight of him wearing the number 10 shirt against Levante on Sunday will give everyone a lift. If he helps inspire a win, it will lift the mood even more.
But it still feels like Carry On in Camp Nou is a full featured feature that may have just started.