Fati trains with Barcelona as Koeman prepares for critical Atletico test - in pictures

Barca without midfielder Pedri for crucial La Liga clash which could decide manager's future

The writing seems pretty much on the wall as Barcelona prepare for the visit to Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

Manager Ronald Koeman is reportedly on borrowed time and his stint as Barca manager is edging closer to the end.

A 3-0 defeat to Benfica in the Champions League has left Koeman's Barca at the bottom of Group E and struggling to reach the knockout stages. It came after a 3-0 loss to Bayern Munich.

Ansu Fati had made the memorable return after 10 months out through injury by scoring in a 3-0 victory over Levante in La Liga, but the Champions League defeat brought them back down to earth.

After the match in Lisbon, Koeman spoke like a defeated man.

“As for my future, I cannot say anything because I don’t know what the club thinks about it,” Koeman said. “It is not in my hands. We will see. At the end, the guilty party is the coach.”

The situation is slightly better in La Liga where they sit in sixth spot, albeit only five points behind leaders Real Madrid with a game in hand. Barca will know exactly where they stand when they face Atletico.

On Friday, Koeman was agitated when pressed on his position at the club.

"Once again the club have said nothing to me. I've found out the president was here this morning, but not seen him. I have ears and eyes and I know a lot of things are leaked, I imagine they're true, but once again I've not been told anything," Koeman said.

To make matters worse, Koeman will be without midfielder Pedri for the visit.

Pedri, 18, had returned from a thigh problem in Wednesday's defeat to Benfica and the club confirmed he suffered a similar issue again.

He joins Jordi Alba, Sergio Aguero, Ousmane Dembele and Martin Braithwaite on the sidelines.

Updated: October 2nd 2021, 3:21 AM
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