In 13 league matches, Ronald Koeman has proven to be one of the most hard-headed managers that Barcelona has had in years. In certain circumstances, his sort of attitude would be appreciated, however here, it comes off as arrogance or perhaps a case of willful ignorance at the errors in his ways.
There are a panoply of flaws within his system that show a complete incapacity to learn from his mistakes. They are so repetitive, and their repercussions so dire, that, perhaps, it might be time for the ex-Oranje manager to wave his goodbyes and pave the way for the next manager because the Catalans’ next president will certainly not be as lenient on him as Carlos Tusquets is — assuming that even is the case.
A case of poor man-management
One need only look at how poorly managed the civil war between Riqui Puig and Ronald Koeman is to get a glimpse of how incapable he is of bringing up a healthy atmosphere within the club. Arguably the most talented midfielder in the squad, the 21-year old has found himself ostracized from the group, and for reasons that can, at best, be described as petty.
For the most incomprehensible of reasons, Puig has barely featured in matches this season, like today’s draw at home to Valencia, even when they were crying out for his particular skill set. The same goes for Carles Aleña, who despite having played one of his best games as a Blaugrana — or perhaps in his career —, has barely featured in a match since.
Rather than belly up to the bar and look for solutions to curb this most ludicrous of problems, Koeman seems too proud, and holds his own ego too high up. He has had cases awfully similar, if not identical, to this. Real Betis legend Joaquin knows about this sort of mistreatment all too well, and he grew up to detest him.
The fact that he failed to learn from errors he made all those years ago and is replicating them even today shows a lack of maturity or a glaring sense within himself that he is infinitely right, even when everything points to it being otherwise.
Incompetence during games
It is not once that we here at Barça Universal have called Koeman out for his logical fallacies. In spite of how many times he has been proven utterly wrong, the Dutchman remains adamant on playing four, five, even six attackers simultaneously when he finds himself a goal down. He also chooses to let Philippe Coutinho stay on the pitch for extended periods even though the Brazilian does more to harm the team than benefit it.
At times his tactic, which is all about abandoning tactics, seems to almost work and then reality kicks in. While Koeman strongly believes that he provides Barça with an easier access to goal by opening the floodgates and raining every forward down on the team, he could not be more wrong.
Barcelona is a club that was known, in its most fruitful times, for its balance and composure even in the face of defeat. What Koeman does, by voiding the team of the very midfielders whose job is to provide said balance, is invariably setting the team up for failure, even when his primal objective was the polar opposite.
Questionable starting lineups
If his substitutions were completely bizarre, then the same, if not worse, could be said for Koeman’s initial setups. For the umpteenth time, the Champions League winner deployed a starting eleven with four players who essentially occupy the same exact positions, and whose actions nullify one another.
Against Cadiz, manager Álvaro Cerveza took a dig at him for his paper-thin offensive tactics, and how easy it was for his newly-promoted side to stop all of them. He fields sides that have no wingers even when they are available, and worse, despite all his experience, he expects four “10s” – case in point against Valencia – who will inevitably get in each other’s way, to perform well together consistently.
When setting the team up in such a manner, all he can do is hope that an individual from his rake-thin midfield or his congested front line will come up clutch with a game-saving moment. Such tactics, if at all they can even be called that, are far from sustainable, far too risky, and all too recurrent under the current Barcelona regime.
Ronald Koeman has one of La Liga’s most talented squads, however, he shows complete ineptitude in his ability to manage it. He should be doing significantly better than the likes of Atlético de Madrid or defending league champions Real Madrid. Yet, he constantly makes the same mistakes and shows a complete inability to learn from them.
These are the hallmarks of a poor manager, and perhaps, even though coaching Barcelona was his lifelong dream, letting go of them might just be the best decision he could make for the club he holds most dear.