Former coach Ronald Koeman returned to Spain for the first time since being dismissed by Barcelona in October 2021. This time around, however, the purpose of his visit was to present the Koeman Cup at the Ciudad Condal Golf Club.
Once the formalities were taken care of, the current Netherlands boss sat down to answer a few complicated questions which were mostly related to his horrid time with the club.
One must remember that it took Barcelona merely a week to announce Koeman’s successor and while things have improved at the club, Koeman thinks otherwise.
“Surely they have improved in some things,” he was quoted as saying by MARCA.
“They have signed three strikers or three players who can play up front. It is not good to compare. When I left, Barcelona was eight points away and now almost double. It is not good to compare,” he added.
Barcelona have lost three successive home games recently and Koeman was quite particular to point that out.
“There’s no need to lie, if you lose the last home games it’s for something. This is the reality of Barcelona today. They need time to return to what there were, and, therefore, I ask for peace of mind and not to think that we haven’t won titles. We have to think long-term, trust and support the coach,” he said.
Koeman has never said anything wrong about Xavi, but he has been quite vocal about the president Joan Laporta. He said that while he didn’t get any support from the management at that time, he expects things to change for Xavi.
“I want Xavi to be given the support he needs. A coach is not the only one at fault. I haven’t had the maximum support of the club’s president, but I hope they‘ve learned and will support Xavi.”
Talking about the time he spent with Barcelona, Koeman added that he can literally write a book about his tenure.
“I can write a book,” he said.
“Many things happened to us. Covid issue, lack of president for a while, I had to answer all kinds of questions, not being able to sign the players we wanted, fair play complicated, without Leo Messi from one day to another, without Griezmann on the last day of the market.”
Koeman was also criticised for signing Luuk de Jong on loan from Sevilla and while his arrival was more or less termed as a panic buy, the Dutch forward has gone on to score some crucial goals for the team in the second half of the season.
“I have been criticized a lot for Luuk. For me, he has always been a player who has worked for me in his role. Luckily he has given 5 or 6 points for Barça.”
On the contrary, Frenkie de Jong suddenly looks unsettled at Barcelona, and there have been reports suggesting that the club wants to cash in on him this summer. Koeman, however, thinks otherwise.
“I do NOT think Barcelona want to sell Frenkie.”
Lastly, he openly let out his frustrations regarding Laporta’s treatment, saying that the coach’s job becomes even more difficult when there is absolutely no support from the management.
“I have not spoken much out of respect for the club. It is not good that I have to go into questions of this kind every time. I have felt, in other clubs, especially in two years as a coach, we know exactly the risk of being a coach,” he said.
“If things don’t work as the club thinks, they can kick you out. But, for me, the president left doubts. We have to speak clearly inside, but to the outside defend coach. If you don’t support your coach, it’s even more complicated.”
“We have seen that City and Liverpool are better, and this is not the fault of one person, manager or president; There are many reasons,” he concluded.