La Liga 'lacking star player' after Messi's Barcelona exit
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Under-fire Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has made a telling admission over his future at the La Liga giants following their humiliating defeat at Benfica. The Portuguese side comfortably beat Koeman’s strugglers 3-0 to leave them rooted to the bottom of Group E of the Champions League.
Koeman has come under increasing pressure in recent weeks, with reports emerging that club president Joan Laporta is keen to replace the Dutchman.
It comes after a challenging start to the season for the Catalan club, who have won only three of their first six games in the Spanish top-flight.
That has left them sixth in La Liga, five points behind early pacesetters and El Clasico rivals Real Madrid.
Things have gone even worse for Koeman and Barca in the Champions League, having lost their opening two games in this season’s edition of the tournament.
First, they were comfortably defeated by Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich at the Nou Camp a fortnight ago.
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While some could forgive that defeat, life for Koeman went from bad to disastrous on Wednesday night when his Barca team were humiliated in Portugal.
The visitors only registered one effort on target and saw Eric Garcia sent off as they fell to a loss in their opening two European games for the first time since the 1972/1973 UEFA Cup.
Benfica opened the scoring within the first three minutes, when Darwin Nunez cut inside and finished low into the near corner past Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.
Rafa Silva then clipped in a second with 20 minutes to go before Nunez netted a penalty to seal the three points.
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Koeman pointed to poor defending and Barca’s inability to take their chances as being the difference between the two sides.
“Benfica were strong physically and they’re quick. I think that for the first and second goals we just had to defend much better,” he said.
“We had really good scoring chances and that’s how you change the direction of a match.
“The fact that Benfica put away the large majority of the few chances they actually created then that’s the big difference between the two teams.”
But the under-fire Dutchman also admitted that he does not know if he has the support of the club, with calls for him to be sacked increasing.
“I feel supported, very supported by my players here at Barcelona. And by the club? I don’t know,” Koeman added.
“I’m not going to argue about the level of my team. There’s no point in comparing this with Barcelona teams of years gone by. That’s as clear as water.
“I can only give you my opinion of my work at the club – I feel backed by my players and their attitude.”
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