Joan Laporta Blasts Ronald Koeman as tensions increase

The Dutch boss refused to take questions at a press conference on Wednesday with Barca supremo Laporta criticising the decision amid growing tensions between the pair.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has hit out at the club’s under-fire boss Ronald Koeman as tensions between the two increases.

Laporta claimed that Koeman’s decision not to field any questions at Wednesday’s press conference was “unnecessary” and also took a thinly-veiled dig at the Dutchman’s “defeatism”.

Koeman – whose position is under increasing scrutiny followed a run of poor results – refused to take questions from journalists ahead of his side’s trip to Cadiz in La Liga.

The Dutch boss instead read out a pre-prepared personal statement regarding the club’s situation and in a move to deflect away criticism and focus on his own position.

Koeman was appointed by the club’s previous president Josep Maria Bartomeu last summer but the election of the returning president Joan Laporta in March was always likely to prompt a change of direction at the club.

The relationship between Koeman and Laporta has swiftly deteriorated this year with the president stating at the end of last season that the Dutchman would remain in his post but only after a period of the club evaluating the possibility of finding a replacement.

The two are now at loggerheads with Barca’s board hopeful of replacing Koeman but wary that they would have to pay £10million to terminate his contract, which expires at the end of the current campaign.

Laporta said of Koeman’s decision on Thursday: “I think it was not necessary, answering questions you can always explain yourself.

“We found out at the last minute that he wanted to make this statement and well, he has the obligation to attend the press conference and is free to respond or express himself as he considers.

“We respect the coach’s decision, but we found out shortly before you (the media), as did the club captains.”

The president then spoke more generally about the club’s current situation, following Monday’s underwhelming home draw against Granada following on from a three-goal home loss against Bayern Munich last week.

Laporta added: “Currently, at the moment, we see that the team is not working as we all expected it would. In this sense we will always act while thinking about Barcelona.

“What I don’t like is when you act with a certain defeatism, we cannot allow that from Barcelona.

“We have the team we have, but we can aspire to win La Liga and the players tell me that we have to be optimistic, we have to work, we have to fight every day, because I believe that success is achieved with daily work.

We are in a difficult moment and I think we must have a lot of serenity and hope for a good result against Cadiz, because that is what matters, these situations are overcome with results. We will continue forward and fight.”

Laporta, who was at an event with several Barcelona supporters’ clubs in Andalusia, acknowledged that he has not spoken with Koeman: “Let’s lower the ball to the ground, the important thing is that tomorrow we have a great game.”

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