Koeman welcomes Barca backing despite defeat


Madrid (AFP) – Ronald Koeman said on Saturday he has the backing of Barcelona president Joan Laporta, despite a 2-0 defeat in La Liga by Atletico Madrid and that “everything is perfect”.

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.

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.

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 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.”

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.

Barcelona had reportedly been considering Xavi Hernandez, Roberto Martinez and Andrea Pirlo as possible coaches to replace Koeman during the international break.

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