Ronald Koeman‘s future as Barcelona coach is
hanging by a thread with Joan Laporta and the rest of
the club’s board considering just what to do.
The latest embarrassment came in the form of a 3-0
defeat to Benfica in the Champions League and
with Koeman‘s competence already in question by
some within the club, that was perhaps the worst
result the Dutchman could have had.
Koeman has been criticised and judged for many
different reasons, but the crucial seven which have
led him to this precipice are impossible to ignore:
1. Attacks on players
The coach had no qualms about stating publicly that
his squad was weakened during the summer,
highlighting the fact that some of the younger players
were more committed than the veterans.
He was critical after games, reproaching his players
for missed chances and lapses in concentration and
he did it again in Lisbon on Wednesday evening.
“We also have to demand more from the players, in
the first goal we can’t let the opposing player enter so
easily, the Barcelona of today is not the one of eight
These comments haven’t endeared him to the players of late.
2. Changing system and
going against Barcelona’s
The 4-3-3 hasn’t been untouchable to Koeman who
has often opted for the 4-2-3-1 system or even one
which utilises five players in defence.
The combination play of previous years has
disappeared in some matches, most notably the draw
with Granada where Los Cules put in 54 crosses.
Once again, the Dutchman blamed his players:
“There weren’t the players for tiki-taka.”
3. A lack of harmony with
Right from the beginning it has been clear that the
president and coach have a difficult relationship.
In his electoral campaign, Laporta hinted at doubts
over the Dutchman’s suitability to his position and
this came to a head in the summer when the
president told Koeman he was looking at alternate
The inconsistent start to the season hasn’t been
helped by the constant leaks and interference
4. Koeman’s defeatism
The coach assures fans that he is realistic with the
ambitions his team has, but his prudence when
setting these objectives has been received very
poorly by the board and the players.
In the Champions League you can’t expect miracles,
to retain a high league position would be a success.”
5. Being a club man
Koeman accepted all the restrictions and limitations
of the club due to the disastrous economic situation.
He understood that he had to sell players and any
signings were to be made on free transfers.
He meekly accepted the departures of Messi,
Griezmann, Emerson Royal even though those
decisions had left him with an infinitely weaker team.
6. He didn’t bow to interference
Despite pressure from some, including Laporta, on
how he should coach the team, Koeman has
remained firm. He has considered that there are
players more deserving of minutes than Samuel
Umtiti and Riqui Puig, despite the encouragement
from above to play them.
7. He has made unsuccessful gambles
The signing of Luuk de Jong was a personal gamble
on Koeman‘s behalf and the Dutch forward isn’t
performing at anywhere near the standard expected of him.
Koeman has given him a lot of confidence and
minutes without reward but has also made
questionable tactical decisions during matches.
Putting Eric Garcia as a right-sided central defender
against Benfica which he then had to change was
one example, as well as the reshuffling of Frenkie de