Demoralised Ronald Koeman admits he could be SACKED, doesn’t know if he has the board’s backing and says there are ‘LOTS of teams better than us’ after Barcelona’s embarrassing Benfica loss
- Ronald Koeman is aware his position at Barcelona will be under scrutiny
- Barcelona suffered another humiliating defeat, losing 3-0 to Benfica
- Koeman believes he has the backing of the players but not the board
- Barca failed to muster a shot on target for successive Champions League games
Ronaldo Koeman admitted he could be dismissed as Barcelona coach in a frank post-match interview following his team’s 3-0 defeat by Benfica.
Asked if he felt he had backing at Barcelona, Koeman said: ‘I feel the players are behind me.’ Asked if he felt the board backed him too, he said: ‘I don’t know.’
Before the manager’s interview Frenkie de Jong was asked if the answer to Barcelona’s woes was to sack Koeman. He replied: ‘No’, but players’ loyalty might not be enough for the 58-year-old coach.
Ronald Koeman is unsure if he will keep his job after Barcelona were thrashed by Benfica
Barcelona suffered a second successive 3-0 humiliation in the Champions League
Barcelona failed to muster a shot on target during the 90 minutes and have lost their first two group games for the first time since the Champions League started.
‘This is not the team of years gone by. It’s crystal clear,’ added Koeman.
‘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.’
Asked why he took Gerard Pique off after 33 minutes he added: ‘We were lucky that he didn’t show him a second yellow card. We could not afford that and Frenkie was able to give us that pressure. But if you can’t score it’s difficult.’
Koeman admitted after the game it is ‘crystal clear’ his side are not like the Barca teams of old
Darwin Nunez, who scored a famous brace, converts his first of the night with a tidy finish
De Jong added: ‘I still have faith that we can go through. We have to win our remaining games. We have lost the first two games.’
Whether Koeman is in charge to take Barcelona into those remaining group games is now the huge doubt hanging over the club.
Barcelona play Atletico Madrid at the weekend but there is then an international break after that in which president Joan Laporta could make the change.
Financial restraints have always complicated his desire to replace Koeman. The club would have to pay him around £10.4million (€12m) and because they are outside the limits of La Liga’s financial fairplay they are subject to a special rule that means they can only bring in new players (or a new coach) for a quarter of the cost of those leaving.
There is leeway in the way these league rules are applied but it could mean that if Barcelona lost Koeman who earns around €8m they would only be able to bring in a coach for around €2m.
Despite back-to-back defeats in Group E, Frenkie de Jong insists they can still qualify
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