La Liga 'lacking star player' after Messi's Barcelona exit
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Ronald Koeman is under pressure at Barcelona after results have dipped following their 3-0 thrashing against Bayern Munich in the Champions League, and club president Joao Laporta’s patience is running out. The Blaugrana lie down in ninth place in La Liga, but have two games in hand.
Barcelona president Joao Laporta is losing patience with manager Ronald Koeman after the Dutchman’s unique press conference raised tensions within the clubs hierarchy.
Koeman has been under pressure at Barcelona and their 3-0 drumming by Bayern Munich in the Champions League didn’t help matters, before a 1-1 draw at home to Granada intensified things further.
The Dutchman refused to answer questions at Wednesday’s press conference and instead read out a prepared three-minute statement asking for more support during a difficult period.
However, form is all that matters at Barcelona, and Laporta may be losing faith.
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Laporta spoke to Sport in the wake of the press conference and highlighted the pair’s lack of communication, as he was only made aware of Koeman’s plans shortly before.
The Barcelona president said: “We found out at the last minute that he wanted to make a statement and, well, he’s obliged to attend press conferences and he’s free to respond or speak as he wishes.
“We respect the coach’s decision, but we and the captains found out a bit before.”
However, although Laporta clearly respects Koeman’s decision, his main focus is on results and when asked if he was losing patience he said: “Yes, of course.”
“We have already spoken a couple of times with Rob Jansen, his agent, so we are talking.
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“I told the coach that he has to be strong, he cannot be in the weak position of ending the contract, so I raised the possibility of extending the contract.”
Laporta continued to speak on Barcelona’s form and said: “We’re in a difficult moment and I think that we should have a lot of serenity and wait for a good result against Cadiz, because that’s what interests us, situations which you overcome with results.
“We will move forward and keep fighting. We’ll get the ball on the ground, what’s important is that we play well.”
Koeman is already into the final year of his contract at Barcelona and it looked increasingly likely that his contract would be extended earlier in the season as Laporta said he was wary of leaving the Dutchman short of power and authority in the dressing room.
The president spoke to Onze TV earlier in September and said: “Koeman has all my support, my respect and all the confidence so that he can work as comfortably as possible.
However, the feel at the club has drastically changed over the course of September and there has been increased speculation that Laporta could look to bring in a new manager to oversee the Barcelona rebuild, with Koeman brought in under the previous president.
Josep Bartemou appointed Koeman before Laporta was re-elected in March, and the new president has been handed a difficult task of refocusing Barcelona after the departure of Lionel Messi this summer.
Barcelona still have a talented squad despite the major financial implications that have left them troubled, but despite the off-field issues, there is no excuse within the Catalan hierarchy for slipping behind both Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.
The watchful eye will be on Koeman as they face Cadiz on Thursday, and anything other than a win could land the Dutchman in further hot water.
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