FC Barcelona’s head coach Ronald Koeman is under great pressure regarding his job at Camp Nou, especially after losing 2-0 to La Liga rival Atletico Madrid. Barcelona, under Koeman, has deteriorated sharply, however, that can also be blamed on the fact that many of its star players have left the club, including Argentine great Lionel Messi. After losing to Atletico on Saturday, Barcelona slipped to the ninth position on La Liga’s points table. Koeman is receiving a lot of flak for the side’s poor run in the 2021/22 season.
In this thread, we shall be discussing some of the unwanted records already set by Koeman at Barcelona. Feel free to join the discussion and share your views
Two consecutive group stage losses in UCL
Barcelona had never lost two consecutive UEFA Champions League games in the group stage before. However, the record changed this year as the side failed to register a single win in the two games it has played in the UCL group stage so far. Barcelona has lost two back-to-back games against Benfica and Bayern Munich.
With the two consecutive losses encountered by Barcelona in the champions League and that is Benfica 3:0 Barcelona
Bayern Munich 3:0 Barcelona
Benfica registers first win against Barcelona in 60 years
Barcelona had never lost a game against Benfica in more than 60 years. The last time Barcelona lost against Benfica was in 1961. Barcelona lost to Benfica 3-0 in the UCL group stage game on September 30. The last time Benfica had won a game against the Spanish giants was in the European Cup final in 1961.
Atletico Madrid’s first win against Barca at Wanda Metropolitano
Atletico Madrid had never won against Barcelona at the Wanda Metropolitano until that changed after the former registered a 1-0 win against Koeman’s team during 2020/21 season in addition to Sunday’s 2-0 result. It now means that Atletico now have two consecutive wins at home in La Liga against the Catalan club.
Messi leaving Barca!
Messi had joined Barca’s youth set-up at 13 and ended his 18-year relationship with Barca during Koeman’s reign.
Barcelona this season:
3 wins, 3 draws, 2 losses
Sixth in La Liga
Bottom of their UCL group
These results are quite bad, but Barca’s current predicament has little to do with poor management, having new players trying to agree on foot isn’t easy, I think Ronald need time because in my opinion he’s got the experience needed. Sacked or not, the team need time.
Four months ago, Barcelona went three La Liga home games without a win for the first time since Messi’s debut in 2004.
Another unwanted record set by Koeman
In my eyes Koeman lost credibility the day he harshly and unceremoniously communicated to Suarez about his exit from Barca. Taking tough decisions is a big management and leadership skill where Koeman could have handled the exit in a better manner. I think Suarez deserved a respectful exit where he spent six years and scored 198 goals for the club. This whole incident obviously must have impacted the morale of other players and questioned their security at the club.
There are many different things in Barça. The team needed a lot of changes, and I accepted that. What bothered me was the way I left,” said Suarez after the departure.
Now, Suarez is in the best of the form at Atletico with a revived purpose to prove his worth.
Suarez explained his gesture after the recent Atletico’s 2-0 victory over his former club. He put his hands together and looked up to the sky in what was initially a muted celebration, out of respect for his former club.
“(It was) out of respect, love, for the journey I had at Barca and for the period they’re in at the moment, for the fans as well,” said Suarez after the game.
The Uruguayan also made a telephone gesture and appeared to aim it at Koeman, perhaps referencing the abrupt manner Barca’s coach told him he was surplus to requirements at Camp Nou, just over a year ago.
“That was for the people who think I’m still using the same number,” said Suarez with a smile.
His Personal Agenda
Pedri Gonzalez, an 18-year old Spanish sensation played a staggering 52 matches for the club of his dreams. This wouldn’t be an issue, if not for Koeman’s over-insistence on always playing him, and his negligence of other well reputed players.
Riqui Puig has been ostracised from the starting eleven for a significant chunk of the season for the above reason. Riqui being an amazing playmaker in the heart of the midfield, it makes no sense why such a beloved figure at the club would miss out on so much football. The same goes for Miralem Pjanic, a player who ideally should slot into any midfield by virtue of his excellence in the role.
Many times, these preferences and prejudices impacted the team in a negative way. Pedri’s obvious fatigue was clearly evident in the home stretch of the season. Instead of switching up the starting eleven, or making more prompt substitutions, Koeman simply let this big a problem run its course through the team, eventually ending whatever little hope for the title there was for last season.
Barcelona’s record of home points in previous seasons:
Barcelona haven’t finished a La Liga season with so few points at home since the 2003/04 campaign, when they only achieved 36. In this current term that has just finished, Koeman’s men accumulated just 38, a total which was certainly below expectations.