Laporta, outraged and hurt, gives Koeman a new chance
The president was not satisfied with the team's performance but will wait for the next matches before taking any decisions
BarcelonaThe nights are getting longer in Camp Nou. It usually happens. Mateu Alemany left the offices at 4 in the morning on the day of the closing of signings, satisfied to have closed a very important operation to balance the salaries in time: send Griezmann to Madrid. In the early hours of Tuesday to Wednesday, however, there were long faces. After the disaster against Bayern, a good part of the board remained in the box. Joan Laporta, vice president Rafael Yuste and sporting director, Mateu Alemany, left Camp Nou three hours after the end of the match, after two o'clock at night. Gerard Piqué also stayed at the stadium for a long time, until 1 o'clock, despite the fact that he would not have been present at the meeting improvised by an always expressive Laporta. So much so that he did not hide his dissatisfaction with the team's performance. He had just witnessed how, for the first time since statistics have been recorded in the Champions League, the team did not score a single shot between the opposition's posts.
President Laporta's entourage admits that he left Camp Nou very unhappy. The return of many fans to a Champions League match also served as a thermometer. Koeman was whistled and came to see a banner calling for his dismissal. Sergi Roberto was booed loudly and when Bayern were doing what they wanted on the pitch, the fans remembered Josep Maria Bartomeu. Laporta, who saw one of his directors get into a debate with some fans about what should be done now, knows that the fans are clear in their minds that it is the former manager who is to blame for everything. But he also knows that he is responsible for finding solutions to encourage some culés who left the Camp Nou crestfallen. And if before the game he made a video on social networks asking for patience and support, he had to do another one after the wreck. It is part of the club's new communication strategy, headed by Paloma Mikadze, who wants to bring fans closer to the message of a president who, unlike others in the past, is not afraid of the cameras. Laporta does not hide feeling "as hurt and outraged as all of you", but admits that a defeat against Bayern was "one of the foreseen scenarios": "We ask for trust in those who run the club. We need this margin of confidence. And have no doubt: we will fix it", he said.
The name on the table, of course, is Ronald Koeman. In the expectation of being able to reinforce the team in the winter transfer window, when money can finally be invested to sign players such as Dani Olmo, the RB Leipzig man from Valles, the name of the Dutch coach does not generate consensus just when it is time for renewal. At this morning's meeting at the stadium, who was most talked about was Koeman. Although both the president and the coach spent the hours before the game claiming that their relationship was very good, in Barça it is hard to hide that the coach has never been Laporta's first choice, preferring someone more offensive. The day after the transfer window closed, Laporta had lunch with some journalists and hinted that Koeman's renewal would be linked to bet on a more offensive style. And to bring back players such as Umtiti and Riqui Puig. The Dutch coach responded through his country's media saying that Laporta perhaps "talked too much", but then the two managed to calm the waters. "We are a team. Koeman is very well and very motivated because he knows that from the club we give him all the support and he has all our respect. We have to look ahead because there are some very complicated games coming up. I'm sure that everything will be fine, because we are a team, both in the dressing room and in the relationship between the coaches and the board of directors, we are all going in the same direction and we are all very motivated", said Laporta. However, the poor image against Bayern has once again cast doubt on Koeman.
Thus, the three Liga games in the next seven days against theoretically lower rivals - Granada, Cadiz and Levante - could be key. Before taking any decisions on renewing him or opting for another coach, in the Camp Nou they want to see how some games they hope to win go. And they hope to see a more attractive game. Crucial days are coming for Koeman.