Barcelona: Koeman defiant over Super League plans
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Barcelona have four managers under consideration to replace Ronald Koeman following their 3-0 Champions League defeat to Benfica on Wednesday evening. The Catalan giants went into the game under pressure after losing to Bayern Munich last time out. And they now face a huge fight to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition.
Barcelona were battered by Benfica, putting in a poor performance in the process.
Darwin Nunez struck twice for the hosts, with Rafa Silva also on target as they cruised to all three points.
For Koeman, it’s a defeat that has raised yet more questions over whether he’s got what it takes to turn this Barcelona crisis around.
Following Lionel Messi’s departure, they’ve lost the fear factor they once possessed.
And Rac1 say that Barcelona chief Joan Laporta has four managers under consideration to take over from Koeman if they’re forced into wielding the axe.
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One is Roberto Martinez.
He’s currently in charge of the Belgium national team but, due to a clause in his contract, he’s able to leave his post if a ‘big club’ comes calling.
Martinez would bring an attacking style to Barcelona but whether they’ve got the players to carry out his orders is debatable.
A second is Andrea Pirlo.
The Italian is relatively new to management and, after struggling at Juventus last season, was sacked for Massimiliano Allegri.
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However, given Pirlo’s lack of experience, it would be a gamble. Especially given how poor the Old Lady were last term.
Third on the list is club legend Xavi.
The Spaniard is one of Barcelona’s best-ever players and has flourished in management so far, winning trophies with Al-Sadd.
And a fourth is Marcelo Gallardo, the River Plate boss, who is said to be the ‘frontrunner’ to land the role.
Laporta is said not to have opted for any of the four options so far.
But Barcelona ‘will decide shortly’ on what happens with Koeman, who cut a dejected figure after Wednesday’s defeat.
“This is not the team of years gone by. It’s crystal clear,” he said.
“The result is hard to take. I don’t think it’s a fair reflection. After conceding so early we responded well but we couldn’t score.
“They are very quick and strong. There are a lot teams stronger than us.”
Barcelona star Frenkie de Jong, meanwhile, thinks sacking Koeman isn’t the answer to the club’s problems.
“I can’t talk about Koeman, it’s not for me to say,” said the Netherlands international.
“I don’t think changing the coach can solve anything.
“We are trying everything, working hard in training, we are trying our best on the field but today was not our day, that is clear.”
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