Ronald Koeman: 'Everything's perfect' at Barcelona after Laporta backing

Barcelona president had given underfire Dutch coach assurances over his future hours before 2-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid on Saturday

Ronald Koeman said on Saturday that "everything is perfect" after receiving the backing of Barcelona president Joan Laporta despite a 2-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid that left the Catalans down in ninth in La Liga.

Atletico strolled to a convincing victory at the Wanda Metropolitano thanks to goals from Thomas Lemar and Luis Suarez, who scored his first goal against Barca since leaving the club last year.

The latest setback follows the midweek Champions League drubbing at Benfica - Barca's secxond successive 3-0 loss in this season's group stage.

Barcelona have now managed only one win in their last six games to cast doubt on Koeman's future as coach but Laporta said earlier on Saturday the Dutchman would continue regardless of the result against Atletico.

“He has a contract, [and] we hope that he can get us back on the winning path, playing the way we want. I know he will give it his all,” Laporta told reporters hours before kick off.

Koeman confirmed after the game he had spoken to Laporta about his position and believes more certainty about his future will help improve Barca's form.

"It went well because before there was no clarity," said Koeman in a press conference.

"We spoke last night on the phone, then again this morning, about the club, the team, about me.

"Clarity is very important, for the confidence of the coach, for the players too, for them to know the coach is still here. We are Barca, we still have to win games. This pressure is also normal.

"It exists for any coach, even more at Barca, but the president has spoken well, he has made his decision, as he said this afternoon, and everything is perfect."

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Koeman said "it was never too late" to receive the support of the club but was unable to answer why Laporta's backing had not come earlier.

"It's a question for the president," he said.

The Dutchman has had to weather the club’s financial crisis caused by the poor management of Laporta’s predecessors and the pandemic. The collapse in revenues and ballooning debt forced Barcelona to let Lionel Messi go and get rid of other players, including Antoine Griezmann, this summer.

Laporta’s relationship with the 58-year-old Koeman, however, has never been ideal. Laporta actively sought to replace him over the summer, only to finally decide to keep him on.

Barcelona had reportedly been considering Xavi, Roberto Martinez and Andrea Pirlo as possible replacements for Koeman during the upcoming international break.

It is possible that one factor influencing Laporta’s sticking with Koeman is the financial bite the cash-strapped club would have to face by breaking his contract that is set to expire at the end of the season.

Barcelona closed the 2020/21 financial year with €481 million ($557 million) in losses and in poor shape to shell out for severance pay. Barca's salary cap has been slashed to €97 million, about €285 million less than a year ago and seven times smaller than that of Real Madrid.

Updated: October 3rd 2021, 4:13 AM
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