Koeman to carry on as Barcelona coach despite Atletico defeat

The Catalan giants are ninth in La Liga after seven matches, five points adrift of leaders Real Madrid.

Barcelona have won just one of their last six games [Albert Gea/Reuters]

Ronald Koeman is grateful to have been given “clarity” over his future at Barcelona after President Joan Laporta confirmed the under-fire head coach will remain in charge of the beleaguered club.

Former Netherlands boss Koeman was widely reported to be on the verge of being sacked by Barca this week, with Saturday’s trip to Atletico Madrid set to be his final game.

Despite a 2-0 loss to the reigning league champions, Koeman insisted “everything is perfect” after receiving Laporta’s support.

Barcelona have won just one of their last six games. However, Laporta clarified ahead of Barca’s clash with Atletico Madrid that Koeman’s position was not under threat regardless of the scoreline.

“Koeman will carry on as Barcelona coach,” Laporta said hours before Barcelona’s match at Wanda Metropolitano, adding that “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”.

After being given a reprieve, the 58-year-old is already preparing for Barca’s next batch of fixtures after the two-week international

“The conversation I had [with Laporta] over the phone last night was very good,” Koeman said after the defeat to Atletico Madrid.

“We also spoke this morning about the squad, the club and other things. At least now there is some clarity in that sense. It’s important for the dressing room that there is clarity.

“But we are Barcelona, and now we have to start winning games. The pressure exists for any coach, particularly at Barcelona. After the break, we have three games we must win. We have spoken together and the president has made his decision.”

On Saturday, former Barcelona striker Luis Suarez teed up teammate Thomas Lemar for the opening goal for Atletico and then tucked away the second himself before half-time.

Suarez has now netted against all 31 of the teams he has faced in La Liga, scoring 172 goals in total.

Barca had the whole of the second half to respond but managed just two attempts on target, only one of which – a Philippe Coutinho
one-on-one – seriously troubled Jan Oblak.

“I’m sad about the result, but we were good in parts of the game,” Koeman said. “We also let ourselves down, especially for the first
goal. We talked before the game about how to defend. They have a lot of depth, but we failed to defend and 1-0 is a complicated scoreline.”

The Catalan giants are ninth in La Liga after seven matches, five points adrift of leaders Real Madrid, who they face later this month
after the visit of Valencia.

Source: News Agencies