La Liga 'lacking star player' after Messi's Barcelona exit
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Following a week in which he looked like he would lose his job as Barcelona manager, Ronald Koeman has held clear the air talks with club president Joan Laporta. Koeman’s side have won just twice in their last eight matches, with the latest defeat coming on Saturday at Atletico Madrid.
Former Barca star Luis Suarez came back to haunt the club that allowed him to leave ahead of last season by scoring once and assisting another.
It leaves the Catalan club a lowly ninth in the La Liga table, with the pressure ramping up on the Dutchman.
Koeman has been blasted for his defensive tactics but has remained defiant throughout, frequently insisting nobody else could do a better job.
Laporta has been unhappy with Koeman’s performance, but appears to be hamstrung by the club’s finances which leaves him stuck with the former Everton boss.
Their relationship is thought to have been strained for some time, with the pair recently entering into a war of words around the team’s playing style.
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Having seen his side fall to defeat at the Wanda Metropolitano and with it five points behind pacesetters Real Madrid, Koeman has revealed he has held clear the air talks with Laporta.
And Koeman has also disclosed that he has asked for more backing from Barca’s hierarchy in the face of the fierce criticism he is being hit with by fans and pundits.
“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,” Koeman said.
“Laporta’s support is important, if we don’t have everything clear; then it is difficult to have a peace mind and the patience to work. It’s the best for everyone, now like any coach we must demand results.
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“The President has been fine [to me]. I already mentioned that there wasn’t much clarity before and I called him yesterday evening from my phone – we spoke about the team, my subject.
“I asked for the club to be more clear with the coach. I don’t know if my credit would last long, but you always depend on the results.”
Whether Koeman receives the backing he has demanded or not will surely not matter if he is unable to turn around Barcelona’s fortunes on the pitch.
The Dutchman has been handed some breathing space by the upcoming international break, but their next three games appear to be crucial to his reign.
It is clear that Koeman knows this, branding all three matches, against Valencia, Dynamo Kyiv and Real Madrid, as “must-win”.
“The next three games – we must win. I am hopeful, there are two weeks without a game. Ansu will be better physically, Agüero and Dembelé will still be returning very soon,” he added.
“Do I feel supported? Yes, now, yes. You can feel that there is a feeling with the president and he sees the situation as he explained.
“But you always depend on the results, which is the case for any coach. It is never too late [for Laporta to show his backing], all that’s needed is clarity because one cannot work without it.”
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