La Liga 'lacking star player' after Messi's Barcelona exit
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Barcelona president Joan Laporta sent a WhatsApp message to other members of the club’s board explaining his decision to stick with Ronald Koeman, according to reports. It’s been a difficult start to the campaign over at the Nou Camp. But despite things worsening, a managerial change won’t take place just yet.
Barcelona endured a horrific summer, losing both Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann while failing to bring in some of football’s biggest names.
And, in the short time since, they’ve struggled to get going.
Koeman was already under pressure before Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Atletico, having overseen the club’s 3-0 Champions League battering to Benfica in midweek.
However, Barcelona opted against sacking him before their La Liga showdown at the weekend.
And Sport now claim Laporta WhatsApp’ed other members of the Barcelona board to explain his decision to stick with Koeman.
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It’s claimed that, on the plane back from Portugal, the two figures barely spoke a word to each other.
That’s despite the duo sitting in close proximity to each other, too.
However, Laporta then thought it was appropriate to call Koeman to talk at length about both his situation and their recent results.
There, during that phone call, Koeman was surprised.
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But he impressed Laporta with his words, which was enough for the Barcelona chief to give him a vote of confidence before the defeat.
Afterwards, Laporta then deemed it necessary to WhatsApp other members of the club’s hierarchy to explain his decision to stick, rather than twist.
Many had woken up on Saturday expecting the former Everton and Southampton boss to be relieved of his duties.
But Laporta made it clear that Koeman loves the club, and also told other board members the Dutchman ‘assumed responsibility for leading the team at a time of maximum sport and institutional difficulty’.
Where Barcelona go from here remains to be seen.
But with results worsening, Koeman faces a fight to turn the situation around.
Speaking after the defeat to Atletico, he made it clear that talks with Laporta went well – insisting the Barcelona board were right to stand by him.
“I spoke to the president yesterday, this morning too,” he said.
“We’ve been discussing things about the team, the staff, the club.
“Things have become clearer now. The message will help calm things down.
“Laporta called me last night and we were talking. At least there is clarity in this aspect. After the break there are three games we have to win.
“Laporta’s support is important, if we don’t have everything clear then it is difficult to have a peaceful mind and the patience to work.
“It’s the best for everyone, now like any coach we must demand results.”
And Koeman also expressed a belief that Barcelona were short of quality players.
“We lack players who open up the field more,” he said.
“And this, against a rival like Atletico Madrid, is very noticeable.”
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